Doha (Qatar), Oct 29 (Indian Expose) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived Doha in Qatar on Sunday beginning her two-nation visit to the Gulf region.
During her stay, Ms Swaraj will call on Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and will hold delegation level talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
She will also interact with the Indian Diaspora. Qatar hosts about seven lakh Indians who form the largest expatriate community there.
“Qatar is a reliable energy partner, supplying more than 50 per cent of India’s natural gas imports. Our bilateral trade with Qatar in 2017-18 was US$ 9.9 billion,” an MEA statement said.
Ms Swaraj will subsequently travel to Kuwait on Tuesday where she will meet Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other dignitaries.
The External Affairs Ministry had said that the visit by External Affairs Minister is in pursuit of India’s objective of enhanced engagement with the Gulf region, which is in India’s extended neighbourhood.
The visit has gained importance especially in the wake of ongoing developments on oil import from Iran vis-a-vis US Sanctions.
An MEA statement issued here on Friday had described both Qatar and Kuwait as “reliable energy partners”.
“For an enhanced engagement with India’s extended neighbourhood. EAM Sushma Swaraj emplanes for the first leg of a four day visit to the Gulf region,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted on Sunday.
Ms Swaraj will visit Qatar and Kuwait “to take forward discussions and decisions for strengthening the bilateral relationships”, he wrote.
The visit is expected to provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues.