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- Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this month.
- It shares a land border with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates.
- Due to the presence of massive offshore natural gas fields, the nation has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes.
- The majority of its 2.9 million people live around its capital, Doha, on its eastern coast.
- Qatar is primarily a desert country, where temperatures in the summer go above 40 degrees Celsius with high humidity.
- History of Qatar;
- The Al Thani family has ruled Qatar since 1847, though it was first under the Ottoman and then the British Empire.
- Qatar became an independent nation in 1971 when the British left the region.
- Oil exports began and shipping out liquefied natural gas to the world made Qatar one of the richest countries. That money powered Qatar’s regional ambitions.
- It founded the satellite news network Al Jazeera, which brought an Arab perspective to mass media that helped fuel the 2011 Arab Spring protests.
- It also launched Qatar Airways, a major airline for East-West travel.
- Governance in Qatar:
- Qatar is an autocratic nation overseen by its ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
- Political parties are banned.
- The right to form unions and strike remains extremely limited.
- No independent human rights organizations are operating in the country.
- Only some 10% of its population is citizens who enjoy vast cradle-to-grave government benefits.
- Naturalization is rare.
- Qatar has also served as an intermediary for the militant group Hamas, as well as a host of the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban that led to America’s 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- Qatar built its massive Al Udeid Air Base for over $1 billion.
- India-Qatar cooperation in diverse sectors has been steadily growing in an excellent framework provided by historically close ties and regular and substantive engagement, including at the highest levels of the two Governments.
- The large, diverse, accomplished and highly regarded Indian community is making an important contribution to Qatar's progress and in nurturing the bonds of deep-rooted friendship and multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries.
- There has been a regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits. The Amir of Qatar H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani paid a State Visit to India in 2015.
- Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) sent Covid medical relief material to India for combating the second wave of Covid-19 by a special Amiri Air force plane.
- Indian community in Qatar too contributed in a big way to sending oxygen-related material to India.
- India offers training slots in its defence institutions to several partner countries, including Qatar.
- India regularly participates in the biennial Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) in Qatar.
- Indian Naval and Coast Guard ships regularly visit Qatar as part of bilateral cooperation and interaction.
Commercial & Investment Relations
- India's bilateral trade with Qatar in 2020-21 was US$ 9.21 billion.
- India’s export to Qatar during 2020-21 was US$ 1.28 billion and India’s import from Qatar was US$ 7.93 billion.
- Qatar’s key exports to India include LNG, LPG, chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, and aluminium articles, while India’s key exports to Qatar include cereals, copper articles, iron and steel articles, vegetables, fruits, spices, and processed food products, electrical and other machinery, plastic products, construction material, textiles & garments, chemicals, precious stones and rubber.
- India is among the top three largest export destinations for Qatar (Japan and South Korea being the other two) and is also among the top three sources of Qatar’s imports, along with China and Japan.
- Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for over 50% of India's global LNG imports.
- Besides LNG, India also imports ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea and polyethene from Qatar. Therefore, the balance of trade continues to be heavily in Qatar’s favour. However, there has been substantial growth in India’s exports to Qatar in the last few years.
- There are regular cultural exchanges between the two sides, under the provisions of the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed between the two sides in 2012. Qataris admire India's cultural diversity.
- The year 2019 was celebrated as the India-Qatar Year of Culture, as envisaged in the Joint Statement issued during the visit of PM Modi to Qatar.
- There are over 700,000 Indian nationals residing in Qatar.
- They comprise the largest expatriate community in Qatar and are engaged in a wide spectrum of professions including medicine; engineering; education, finance; banking; business; and media apart from a large number of blue-collared workers.
Qatar is the largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to India and would build LNG infrastructure in this country, and there is close cooperation between the two countries in the field of combating terrorism, and drug and human trafficking. The developments have bolstered this cooperation across sectors including energy, investment and infrastructure,