Gulf crisis: Qatar assures safety of 6.3 lakh Indians

RSTV Bureau

India discussed with Qatar the issue of the welfare of its citizens in the Gulf nation in the wake of its lingering disputes with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.

Qatar assured India of the safety and welfare of 6.3 lakh Indian citizens in the Gulf nation.

The issue was raised by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during wide-ranging talks she had with her Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani

“The minister assured us of the continued safety, welfare and well-being of the Indian community and briefed the Indian side about new labour laws in Qatar which favour expatriate workers,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

 External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greets Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar  Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, before a meeting  in New Delhi

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj greets Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, before a meeting in New Delhi

In wide-ranging talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the two sides also deliberated on ways to deepen cooperation in areas of energy, trade and investment.

Both the sides also deliberated on ways to deepen cooperation in areas of trade and investment.

During the talks, the Qatari side welcomed the participation of the Indian companies in Qatar’s infrastructure development, including in the ongoing FIFA 2022 World Cup-related infrastructure projects. India’s ties with Qatar have intensified in the last few years.

The External Affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said bilateral issues, including the welfare of Indian workers in Qatar, were discussed in the talks between Swaraj and Al-Thani.

As per estimates, over six lakh Indian nationals are currently working in Qatar. In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain had announced cutting diplomatic ties and closing all connectivity links with Qatar, alleging that it supported terrorism.

Qatar had rejected the charges. In its reaction, India had asked countries in the region to resolve the crisis through constructive dialogue and well- established international principles of mutual respect. India’s ties with Qatar have intensified in the last few years.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani had visited New Delhi in December during which India had expressed keenness to invest in hydrocarbon projects in the Gulf nation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatari counterpart had also discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security and agreed on joint action to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.

Official sources said expanding cooperation in sectors such as energy, trade and investment were discussed in the meeting.