Qatar and India have common synergies to enhance trade, investment relations: Envoy:

Santhosh V. Perumal

Doha's embargo-led efforts to self-sustain the economy and New Delhi's initiatives as 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan' have common synergies to work together in enhancing the trade and investment relations between the two countries, according to Dr Deepak Mittal, India's new envoy to Qatar.

Recalling his meeting with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani Wednesday after presenting his credentials; Mittal said His Highness the Amir had his focus on trade and investment opportunities and the need to work towards further strengthening it.

Hinting that investments between the two countries have not been taken to its full potential; he told a Doha Bank webinar, his first public interaction after taking over as the ambassador, that the message of His Highness the Amir was "loud and clear" that Qatar would like to be a partner in the opportunities.

Referring to Qatar's quest for self-sustenance after it came under embargo in 2017 and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan'; Mittal said "I think there is complementarity and synergy in that".

Indicating that 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan' does not mean protectionism; he said "it is not exclusive, but working together with our global partners and there India desires to be partner in the global supply chain."

Mittal discussed the opportunities that Qatar can offer to Indian businesses on account of FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Ranjan Mathai, former Foreign Secretary of India and Indian High Commissioner to the UK, highlighted the potential areas where Qatar can invest in India, especially in the areas of education, digital technology and pharmaceuticals.

In this regard, he talked about the investment of Qatar Investment Authority in Byju's learning app. He also noted Qatar’s investments in firms relating to electricity transmission and fibre optics.

"Our trade will be maritime led and it is where India and Qatar will have opportunities," he said.

According to the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Qatar has launched a direct maritime line with India, linking Hamad Port and Mundra and Nhava Sheva ports in India.

Moderating the webinar, Doha Bank chief executive Dr R Seetharaman spoke on India's ambition to reach $5tn economy by 2025.

Highlighting Qatar's new public-private partnership law and an approved foreign investment law to promote non-Qatari investments as well as the required framework in terms of free zones and other infrastructure; he said Doha Bank was more than willing to facilitate cross-border investments.