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Modi, Qatar's emir hold talks to boost bilateral ties

June 05, 2016 16:07 IST

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives ceremonial honours at Emiri Diwan in Doha. Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani can also be seen. Photographs: MEA/Twitter

With an intent to give a push to India-Qatar ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Sunday held detailed talks on a wide range of issues.

At the outset, Modi personally extended greetings to the Emir, who celebrated his 36th birthday two days ago. The prime minister had called him on that day to convey the greetings over phone. Al-Thani became Emir of Qatar on 25 June 2013 after his father's abdication.

Before the talks, Modi was given a ceremonial reception at the Emiri Diwan, the seat of power of Qatar's ruler. "The full splendour of an Arab welcome as PM @narendramodi receives ceremonial honours at Emiri Diwan in Doha," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a photo.

Cooperation in energy is expected to be high on the agenda of the talks that were to cover various aspects of the relationship.

Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 standing at $15.67 billion.

IMAGE: Prime Miniser Narendra Modi inspects the guard of honour at Emiri Diwan in Doha.

Qatar is also one of India's key sources of crude oil. This Arab country has a large population of Indians who number over 6.3 lakh.

While landing in Doha on Saturday, Modi had said India attaches great priority to strong ties with Qatar and that his visit seeks to expand the bilateral ties further. The prime minister has been focusing on improving ties with the Gulf region which is crucial for India's energy security. He has already visited United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

His trip marks a prime ministerial visit after eight years. The then prime minister Manmohan Singh had visited Doha in 2008.

The Emir of Qatar had visited India in March 2015. Previously, the then Emir of Qatar had visited India in 1999, 2005 and 2012.

Ajay Kaul in Doha
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