Bilateral trade between Qatar and India stood at $8.4bn during the fiscal year that ended in March this year even as Ras Laffan remains the largest source of liquefied natural gas for the Asia’s third largest economy, a new report has shown.
Qatar, according to Alpen Capital, aims to enhance production of natural gas by 10% from a large underwater gas field, which is likely to increase export capacity by 2bn cubic feet per day.
In five years up to 2020, Qatar’s hospitality market is expected to demonstrate the fastest annualised growth of over 10%, owing mainly to tourism-related developments ahead of landmark events to be held in the country, the Alpen Capital report entitled “GCC-India Corridor” noted.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other government-owned entities are exploring options to invest in Indian infrastructure.
In February this year, Qatar Holding disclosed plans to invest $250mn in an affordable housing fund in India, Alpen Capital said.
The report highlighted that the opening of large convention centres in Qatar is likely to boost business visitor traffic to the country. Qatar witnessed the opening of the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in November 2015. The report said Qatar provides numerous opportunities for investments in infrastructure, particularly because the country is hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, for the first time in the entire Middle East.
It also said “Qatar is charting a new public-private-partnership law” to attract multi-billion dollar investments.
In March 2015, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani visited India for discussions on energy, investment and labour. Qatar is the largest source of liquefied natural gas for India.
The two countries has entered into some six agreements for cooperation in areas of ICT, atmospheric and ocean sciences, radio and television, exchange of news between Qatar News Agency and United New Agency, transfer of sentenced prisoners and foreign affairs, Alpen Capital said.
In June 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Qatar to boost bilateral trade and sign a pact to share intelligence on terror financing. During the visit, the countries entered into seven agreements on investments in infrastructure, customs matters, exchange of intelligence, skilled labourers, tourism, health and youth and sports. Eventually, the countries signed agreements on the grant of e-visas to businessmen and tourists and visa-free travel for diplomats; cyber space/cyber-crime and a framework to enable Indian companies to participate in infrastructure projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Lately, Qatar also permitted visa on arrivals to nationals from 80 countries, including India, the report said.
In terms of trade between the GCC bloc and India, the value had reached $97bn in the fiscal ending March, Alpen Capital said.
While India sources a sizeable chunk of its energy requirement from the GCC, the member nations – home to nearly 8.5mn Indians – have a large market for Indian products and services.
“The increase in visits by high-level dignitaries in the last three years, supplemented by the signing of cooperation agreements in various areas, is a testament to the fortifying relationship between the regions. The flow of investments between the regions is likely to rise, given the improving ties and regulatory reforms,” Alpen Capital said.
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