New Delhi: Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has embarked on a visit to Qatar. The Foreign Minister informed that he held talks with the leaders in the trade and industry sectors. The Foreign Minister clarified that he gave the information regarding the opportunities created in India, because of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, to the Qatar industry. There also is a significant rise in investment in the Indian industry sector. The visits of the Indian leaders show that the relations between the two countries are strengthening further.
Qatar is an important country supplying crude oil to India. In the financial year 2019-20 the bilateral trade was $10.95 billion. There are 700,000 Indian workers in Qatar. Qatar has made a resolve to increase its investment in India, in the time to come. Both countries have decided to set up a ‘Task Force’ for this purpose. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani held a telephonic talk, this month. The decision regarding the formation of the ‘Task Force’ was taken during this talk. The visit of the Indian Foreign Minister, to Qatar, is a part of the same cooperation.
In September, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had paid a visit to Iran, on the way to the SCO meeting in Moscow. In November, Foreign Minister Jaishankar had visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane had visited UAE and Saudi Arabia. This is the first time the Army Chief went on a visit to Saudi and UAE and his visit is considered historic. Whereas, Deputy Foreign Minister V Murlidharan recently visited Oman.
The Indian leaders and Army Chief’s visits show that the Indian cooperation with the West Asian countries is becoming stronger. Biden administration is preparing to take over power, in the United States. His indications regarding Iran have made the Middle East countries, restless. At the same time, economies of all the countries are facing a crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Middle East countries, whose economies were entirely dependent on crude oil exports, have decided to reduce this dependence. These countries are also looking for trustworthy investment destinations.
This has tremendously increased India’s importance, and the West Asian countries are taking rapid steps to increase trade and investment in India. The visits of the Indian leaders to the West Asian countries are against this background. The Pakistan Foreign Minister had accused that the Indian leaders are visiting the West Asian countries to garner support for an attack on Pakistan. India has dismissed this accusation.
The Pakistani journalists are expressing fears that the Middle East countries will replace the Pakistani employees with Indian employees, to appease India. As per these journalists, this will immensely affect the Pakistan, which is what India wants. These journalists criticise that while India successfully implements an aggressive foreign policy, the Pakistan foreign ministry has completely failed on this front.