The first ministerial-level meeting of the joint committee of India and Qatar will be held this year while marking a historic moment in the relation of two countries.
Indian ambassador Dr Deepak Mittal told local Arabic daily Arrayah that Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani is expected to visit India this year to attend the first meeting of the joint committee with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
He explained that several visits at the ministerial and official level from India to Qatar are also planned.
“The bilateral relations between Qatar and India have developed a lot in the past year despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic,” the envoy said. “Both countries have supported each other during these unprecedented circumstances.”
“There was close co-operation and co-ordination between the two countries to deal with this challenge, including building resilient healthcare systems, safe and reliable supply chains, food security and more,” the ambassador added.
The Indian envoy hailed the support that Qatar gave to the people of India in its fight against Covid-19.
“Despite the pandemic, we have had some high-level visits, virtual exchanges and new initiatives between various ministries and joint committees in foreign affairs, defence, economy, investment, energy, transportation, communications, security, law enforcement, health, and in the field of education,” he said.
“This year is special, with the opening of the first Indian university in Qatar,” the envoy noted, adding that the vibrant and diverse Indian community in Qatar also helped strengthen ties further, celebrating the 75 years of India’s independence with events like tree planting, blood donation, beach clean-ups, cultural events, festivals, and carnivals to host the Arab Football World Cup and other tournaments.
The ambassador said that the past year has witnessed wide bilateral participation and co-operation between the two countries on the developments in Afghanistan.
“The two sides have maintained regular contact through mutual visits and high-level consultations,“ he said, adding that 283 Indians were evacuated from Afghanistan to India via Doha.
Another important item on the joint agenda is preparations for the joint celebrations of the 50th anniversary of full diplomatic relations between India and Qatar.
The celebrations will be held in 2023.
“Both sides are keen to explore new areas of co-operation, including in space technology, information technology, entrepreneurship, cyber-security, artificial intelligence, academic and youth exchanges,” he added. “The NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and Qatar’s communications satellite operator Es'hailSat are in contact and working on how Qatar can benefit from India's space expertise.
“India and Qatar are also preparing to work together in multilateral forums as well on global issues including climate change, counter-terrorism and cyber-security.”