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International Relations


  • 29 Dec 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister met the top leaders of Qatar and discussed strengthening the economic and security cooperation between the two countries.

  • The visit is part of India’s ongoing outreach to West Asia, which the country sees as part of its extended neighbourhood.
  • Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Key Points

  • India and Qatar agreed to maintain regular consultations and coordination on all issues of mutual interest at multilateral fora.
    • Issues of mutual interest include energy, power, petrochemicals, investments, infrastructure, development, project exports and education.
  • Discussed ways to strengthen the multifaceted bilateral relationship in areas such as energy, trade, investment, food processing, healthcare, education, culture, defence and security.
    • Bilateral trade was worth USD 10.95 billion in 2019-20.
  • India thanked Qatar for taking care of people from the Indian community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • India and Qatar have maintained close high-level contacts during the pandemic.
  • India appreciated Qatari Businessmen Association’s commitment for business partnerships with India and briefed them about new opportunities flowing from Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Qatar’s leader appreciated the contribution of the Indian community in Qatar and recalled his visits to India.
  • Recent Developments:
    • Both the countries have decided to set up a special task force to facilitate investments by the Qatar Investment Authority, part of India’s ongoing outreach to key West Asian states to overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The two sides have agreed on institutionalising measures to promote and protect the rights of workers, including settling labour issues and facilitating the movement of people between the two countries in a safe and secure manner.

India-Qatar Relation

  • Economic Relations:
    • Trade volume:
      • The last few years witnessed a palpable decline in the trade volume between the two countries due to the decline in the rates of gas and oil in the international market.
      • India is considered to be the fourth largest export destination for the State of Qatar.
      • Both India and Qatar also have a good relation in the banking sector.
    • Exports:
      • Qatar’s key exports to India include LNG, LPG, chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, and aluminium articles.
      • India’s key exports to Qatar include cereals, copper articles, iron and steel articles, vegetables, plastic products, construction material, textiles & garments, etc.
  • Cooperation in the Field of Energy:
    • Qatar is the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India.
    • India imports around 70% of its needs for the natural gas from Qatar.
  • Defence:
    • India’s defence cooperation with Qatar has so far been limited to training, participation in each other's conferences/events and visits by ships of Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
    • Za’ir-Al-Bahr (Roar of the Sea) is the naval exercise between Indian and Qatar Navy.
  • Cultural Relations:
    • Cultural exchange:
      • There is a regular flow of Indian artists performing in Qatar at events organised by community organizations affiliated to the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC).
        • ICC is an apex body of associations of the Indian community functioning under the aegis of Embassy of India, Doha, and private sponsors.
    • Yoga:
    • Education:
      • There are 14 Indian schools in Qatar, offering CBSE curricula to over 30,000 students, most of whom are the children of Indian nationals working in Qatar.
  • Indian Community:
    • Indian community is the largest expatriate group in Qatar which is estimated to be around 700 million people.
    • They are making their contribution in different sectors. Indians are highly respected in Qatar for their sincerity, hard work, technical expertise and law-abiding nature.
    • Indians are employed in almost every local establishment, governmental or private, in various capacities.
    • Remittances:
      • The remittances which the Indian expatriate community in Qatar send to India are estimated to be around 750 million dollar per annum.

Way Forward

  • Qatar wants to make investment in India in the domain of the infrastructure which includes roads, highways, economic corridors, airports, ports, tourism and hotels apart from the projects related to gas and fertilizers.
  • India is looking forward to the direct investment in the manufacturing and production of the liquefied natural gas and in chemical industries, especially the industry of fertilizers, urea, petrochemicals.


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