India and energy-rich Qatar today signed six agreements including one on transfer of sentenced prisoners as the two countries sought to inject a fresh momentum in their bilateral ties.
The pacts were signed after Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani held extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which both the leaders discussed a range of issues including enhancing cooperation in energy sector and boosting trade and investment.
Under the provision of the pact on transfer of sentenced persons, Indian prisoners convicted in Qatar can be brought to India to serve the remaining part of their sentence. Similarly Qatari citizens convicted in India can be sent to their home country to serve jail term.
According to official figure, 96 Indians are currently languishing in various jails in Qatar which is home to around 600,000 Indians.
The other five MoUs will provide for cooperation in areas like information and communication technology, atmospheric and ocean sciences and media.
Qatar is an important country for India in the Gulf region. It supplies 86 per cent of India’s Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). The bilateral annual trade is around USD 16 billion.
The MoU in the field of information and communication technology would provide enhanced business opportunities for Indian IT industry in Qatar.
Qatar has embarked on an ambitious programme for overall development as part of its Qatar 2030 vision and has created a dedicated Ministry of Information and Communication Technology for capacity building in ICT.
Another MoU was signed between Ministry of Earth Sciences and Qatar Meteorological Department for cooperation in the field of atmospheric and ocean sciences.
A separate MoU was inked between Diplomatic Institute of Qatar’s Foreign Ministry and Foreign Service Institute of External Affairs Ministry to facilitate exchange of faculty members and experts.
The two sides also finalised a pact to encourage regular exchange of radio and TV programmes and content between Prasar Bharati and Qatar Media Cooperation.