Indian minister urges business leaders to build shared prosperity
April 17 2018 12:40 AM
India’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs M J Akbar addressing the Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference at Rotana City Centre Hotel in Doha yesterday. PICTURES: Ram Chand

India’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs M J Akbar has urged Qatari investors to consider investing in Asia’s third-largest economy, which he said, “is developing at a rapid pace”.
“We are growing in excess of 7% and this will continue for the next few years. India is on a massive infrastructure upgrade, building many airports, bridges, and providing low-cost housing to millions of people,” Akbar said in his address to the Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference at Rotana City Centre Hotel in Doha yesterday. 
India has already improved its position considerably in the global “ease-of-doing-business” ranking.
“Our prime minister wants us to reach within the top 50 in the coming years,” the Indian minister said. 
Akbar said India was pursuing an ambitious scheme to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LGP) cylinders to millions of households below the country’s poverty line. 
“Food security is another area where the country’s focus is on. We are now self-sufficient in food and wish to provide our expertise to our friendly countries,” Akbar said. “We are pleased to be at this conference that lays the foundation of the most significant bridge between two sovereign nations. Relations between Qatar and India have always been good, and the last years have been marked with several visits and desire to work together and build shared prosperity. Now it is time for business leaders to deliver on the promise of political leaders. Governments are enablers, they clear conditions in which business people can find partnerships, and now we are depending on those business leaders to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment opportunities.”
Akbar also congratulated Qatar for inaugurating the iconic Qatar National Library, which he said, is “Qatar’s great investment in enriching knowledge.”
Abdullah Mubarak al-Khalifa, QNB chief business officer and executive general manager, said, “Qatar and India have a long-term brotherhood and strong trade relationships in various sectors and those relations continue to expand to cover most fields due to the closeness between the two countries’ leaderships and nations. 
“The current world economic challenges require unity and co-operation between countries in order to face those challenges and proceed with our journey towards growth and prosperity. Conferences such as this are important to allow us to work together to find solutions and take successful decisions to leverage the future of trade and economic relations between the two countries.”
“Indian Business & Professionals Council is honoured to host this conference which constitutes a bridge between businessmen from India and their counterparts in Qatar to grow their businesses. This first-of-its kind conference is the perfect platform to build on the strong ties between India and Qatar that are already in place and also extend their reach,” said IBPC president K M Varghese. 
The opening session, titled ‘Doing business in Qatar’, which was led by Sheikha Al Anoud bint Hamad al-Thani, managing director (Business Development), Qatar Financial Centre, discussed the various ways of setting up business in Qatar through different platforms, including QFC. 
This was followed by a presentation by Ajay Kumar, QNB assistant general manager (Asset and Wealth Management), on ‘Qatar-India winds of change’, which examined Qatar-India relations with a focus on the current memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that are already in place and plans to enhance economic co-operation. 
Delegates were then given insight into ‘Doing business in India’ by Gaurav Gupta, CEO, QNB India, who outlined the options available for international companies and entrepreneurs looking to start a business in India.  
The second session of the opening day, ‘Digital Governance’ focused on the shift towards smart governance and the digitisation of systems and processes. The day’s third thought-leading discussion examined the best practices for nurturing entrepreneurs and SMEs.
Moderated by Dr Nitham Hindi — vice-president (Education), Qatar University, the next session ‘Logistics — connecting the dots’ was a lively panel discussion featuring Keegan Varella, business analyst, Manateq; Gautam L Bellur, senior vice-president (Corporate Development and Communications), Milaha; and Nishit Rastogi, Founder & CEO of Locus India.

Milaha eyes boosting of
Qatar-India business relations

Qatar-based maritime and logistics conglomerate Milaha is taking part in the two-day Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference, which aims to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries in light of the significant growth these ties have witnessed in recent years. 
Milaha president and CEO Abdulrahman Essa al-Mannai said: “Qatari-Indian relations are historic and distinguished at all levels, and we are pleased to be represented at this important conference to discuss with our Qatari and Indian partners in the public and private sectors how we can further strengthen this co-operation through the exchange of investment opportunities and business partnerships to serve the interests of both the countries.”
He added: “At Milaha, we are proud to support the development of bilateral ties through our enhanced direct feeder service, which we launched in 2015 and which now has five weekly calls at three Indian ports — Nhava Sheva, Mundra, and Kandla. 
“This service connects traders, importers, and exporters throughout India, Southeast Asia, and the Far East with their counterparts in the Arabian Gulf, which helps facilitate trade between these vital regions of the world.” 
In addition to its direct container shipping service between Qatar and India, Milaha’s bulk shipping vessels carried 320,000 tonnes of construction material from India to Qatar in 2017, while its Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) unit continues to facilitate the transport of cargo between the two countries. 
The NVOCC unit arranged the transport of 235,000 tonnes of cargo, 15,600 TEUs, and 1,400 reefer containers of perishable cargo between Qatar and India with a total of more than 170 vessel calls at Indian ports in 2017.

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