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India, Qatar ink six agreements during Emir's visit

India and Qatar inked six agreements, including one on transfer of sentenced prisoners, as visiting Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday.



New Delhi: India and Qatar inked six agreements, including one on transfer of sentenced prisoners, as visiting Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday.

The Emir, who is here on a two-day visit, was in the morning accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him, after which he held talks with Prime Minister Modi at Hyderabad House.

The six agreements, besides transfer of sentenced prisoners, are: an MoU for Cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technology; an MoU between the ministry of earth sciences and Qatar Meteorological Department for Scientific and Technical cooperation; an MoU between Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar and Foreign Service Institute of the ministry of external affairs; an MoU for cooperation in the field of Radio and Television; and an agreement for Mutual Cooperation and Exchange of News.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted: "Opening new doors for investment. Minister @SushmaSwaraj meets Emir of Qatar."

Under the agreement on transfer of sentenced prisoners, Indian prisoners convicted in Qatar can be repatriated 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 their sentence. This agreement would enable the sentenced persons to be near their families and would help in the process of their social rehabilitation, said an official statement.

The Qatar emir is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and captains of industry.

The former Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, had visited India thrice: in 1999, in 2005 and in 2012. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had visited Qatar in November 2008.

Around 600,000 Indian nationals work in Qatar, comprising the largest expatriate community in Qatar. Qatar is also the largest source of India's LNG imports, at 86 percent. Bilateral trade stands at USD 16 billion, heavily weighted in favour of Qatar due to India's LNG imports.

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