India and Qatar seek greater co-operation

Recent bilateral meetings held between two leaders – the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani in Delhi have resulted in four deals between the two countries. These include cyberspace, investments and crucially visa arrangements between the two countries.

The new regulations announced allow holders of diplomatic and special passports to travel visa free between the two countries for the first time. The two leaders also signed a letter of intent signalling the intention to enter into discussions on e-visa arrangements for business and tourist travellers.   This formed part of larger agreement on cooperation between the two counties in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. A Memorandum of Understanding will provide an outline which will benefit project managers of Indian companies in Qatar, including those that are involved in infrastructure projects in Qatar for the World Cup and agreements on ports management.

The meetings are the third high level visits between the two countries in the past two years, previously in March 2015 and June 2016.  There are currently over 630,000 expatriate Indians working in Qatar and the countries are keen to foster good relations.  With increased construction in the lead up to the World Cup Qatar will increase their reliance on expatriate workers many travelling from India and across south east Asia. Both countries are working hard to ensure that this labour exchange works in favour of both countries and that travel and business between the two countries is as easy as possible.  The two leaders also discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security, in particular in cyber security. Following the letter of intent signed on this visit regarding e-visas for business and tourists it is hoped that these arrangements can be discussed and put in place as soon as possible.

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