Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Qatar next month on a two-day official visit at the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who had visited India in March last year.
During the visit starting June 5, Modi and Hamad Al-Thani will discuss matters of mutual interest that include "bilateral, regional and multilateral issues," Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson for the Indian foreign ministry, said during a media briefing in New Delhi on Saturday, May 21.
Modi's visit will be first high-level official visit from India to Qatar after eight years; former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Doha in 2008.
Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in Qatar, with over 6.3 lakh non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in the country. They bilateral trade between India and Qatar was $15 billion in 2014-15, according to Swarup.
Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for 65 percent of the total imports in 2015-16, besides being a key source of crude oil.
In December last year, Indian company Petronet LNG, India's largest LNG importer, finalised a deal with Qatar's RasGas to buy fuel at half the price agreed upon between the two entities.
On Dec. 31, 2015, Petronet LNG and RasGas had signed a revised sale purchase agreement, according to which Petronet would get LNG at $6-7 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu), substantially lower from the $12-13 per mmBtu under the original contract signed in 1999, as reported by BusinessLine. The agreement was effective from Jan. 1 this year and valid till 2028.
The Qatari government owns television news channel Al Jazeera.
India Inc has a sizeable presence in Qatar, ranging from financial services entities such as State Bank of India, LIC and ICICI Bank, to information technology firms including Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and HCL Technologies. Infrastructure companies such as Larsen & Toubro, Punj Lloyd, Essar and Voltas also have their businesses in the Gulf Cooperation Council member-country.
During Hamad Al-Thani's March visit to India, the two countries signed agreements that included cooperation in the field of information technology and transfer of sentenced persons.