External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will be on her first four days visit to Qatar and Kuwait from October 28-31. During her visit to both the countries, Swaraj will discuss the issues of energy security, trade and investment.
Besides this, Swaraj’s visit to both the countries has an objective to enhance the engagement with the Gulf region. The people that are behind planning the trip for Swaraj said that the countries are a major supplier of oil and gas and are home to millions of expatriate Indian workers
As per the sources, more than 700,000 Indians lives in Qatar which has formed the largest expatriate community there. The Indians in Qatar can be counted as 27% of the country’s entire population. While Kuwait has about one million Indians which is again the largest expatriate community.
Sources have revealed that Swaraj will address members of the Indian community at special functions in both the countries.
“Both countries are also reliable energy partners for India and Qatar provides more than 50% of India’s natural gas imports. Energy security and investments will figure in the talks in both countries,” said one of the people cited above.
On the other hand, some Indian firms are also willing Qatar to host projects linked to the 2022 Football World Cup. These projects have triggered a boom in construction activity, the sources revealed.
The Qatar crisis triggered by the severing of diplomatic ties with the country by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and several others nations in June 2017, is also expected to figure in Swaraj’s interactions.
Swaraj being invited by her counterparts, will held meetings in Qatar on October 28 and 29 and in Kuwait on October 30 and 31. While she will call on Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar in Doha, and will also hold talks with her counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
Earlier in 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Qatar in June and his visit to the country boosted the traditionally close bilateral ties.