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Modi thanks Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim for release of Navy veterans

PM Modi’s visit to Doha came shortly after the jailed naval veterans were released this week

Modi thanks Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim for release of Navy veterans
[Source photo: PIB]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in New Delhi late Thursday night after a three-day visit to the Gulf that included a tour to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. 

After a two-day stay in the UAE, Modi landed in Qatar on Wednesday, where he met the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and other dignitaries to hold talks on bilateral as well as regional and global issues.

Modi’s visit to Qatar came shortly after eight former Indian Navy personnel jailed in Qatar for over 18 months were released. This was the prime minister’s second visit to Qatar, having visited the Arab nation in June 2016.

On the first day of his visit, Modi met Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and attended a dinner hosted in his honor. 

“The two leaders exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade, investment, energy, finance, and technology. They also discussed recent regional developments in West Asia and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability in the region and beyond,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said. 

On the second day, Prime Minister Modi met Sheikh Tamim and his father, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. 

During his meeting with Sheikh Hamad, who had ruled that country till 2013, Modi thanked the elder Amir for his visionary leadership that paved the way for Qatar’s development over the past decades.

The two leaders held discussions on India-Qatar relations, the MEA said in a press release. 

Sheikh Hamad affirmed that India and Qatar “share an unwavering bond, epitomized by mutual trust and cooperation.” He also appreciated the role of the Indian community in Qatar’s development “and in nourishing the bilateral partnership,” the ministry added.

In his meeting with Sheikh Tamim, Modi discussed various issues including bilateral relations and global developments, and thanked the Qatar ruler for the release of eight Indian nationals earlier this week. 

“The two leaders recalled their last meeting on the sidelines of COP28, last December. Prime Minister thanked the Amir for his support for the welfare of the Indian community and, in this regard, expressed his deep appreciation to him for the release of eight Indian nationals of Al-Dahra company. We are extremely gratified to see them back in India,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a media briefing on Thursday. 

The discussions covered a wide array of topics including economic cooperation, investments, energy partnerships, space collaboration, urban infrastructure, cultural bonds, and people-to-people ties, Kwatra said. 

“When the two leaders spoke, they spoke about the need for strategic investment and strategic partnership in the field of energy and technology,” he added. 

Modi thanked Sheikh Tamim for taking care of the over 800,000 strong Indian community in Qatar and conveyed India’s commitment to further expanding and deepening bilateral cooperation with Qatar. 

“The Amir also appreciated the contributions of the vibrant Indian community in Qatar’s development and their enthusiastic participation in various international events held in Qatar,” the MEA added. 

Earlier this week, the government had thanked Sheikh Tamim for enabling the release of the eight Navy veterans. 

The naval veterans were jailed in Qatar for alleged espionage and sentenced to death last year. The Court of Appeal on 28 December commuted the capital punishment and sentenced them to jail terms for varying durations.

Seven of the eight personnel have returned home while the government is working toward getting the remaining one home. 

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