PM wraps up Gulf visit with a host of deals

PM Manmohan Singh ended his Gulf tour with agreements on defence cooperation with Qatar and investments with Oman.

Published: 11th November 2008 01:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2012 04:55 PM   |  A+A-


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al- Thani during a meeting at Wajba Palace in Doha on Monday. PTI

DOHA: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday wrapped up his maiden visit to the Gulf on a successful note that saw him inking agreements for defence cooperation with Qatar and investments with Oman and more crucially making a pitch for stepping up energy imports.

The highlight of the November 8-10 two-nation visit was the signing of defence and security cooperation agreement with Qatar that lays the framework for collaboration on maritime security, sharing intelligence and information on extremist threats, money laundering and smuggling of narcotics.

The agreement is just short of stationing troops in the region, a top Indian official said. India also sought an additional five million tonnes of LNG from Qatar to meet its growing energy needs and has proposed to set up a gas-fired fertiliser plant in the Gulf nation to meets its urea needs.

‘‘We had an excellent one-hour meeting. Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah is a great friend of India and promised to look into our LNG needs,’’ Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said.

At Qatar and earlier in Oman, Singh sought to leverage surplus funds in the region for investment in the infrastructure sector to boost economic growth that is slowing due to the global financial crisis. New Delhi and Muscat also put together a $ 100- million fund for financing multi-sector projects in the two countries.

The two sides also signed an agreement for protection of rights of about five lakh Indians working in Oman.

The India-Oman Joint Investment Fund, with a seed money of $100 million, would eventually grow to $1.5 billion for investments in infrastructure, tourism, health, telecom utilities, urban infrastructure and other sectors.

Singh called on Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani to discuss wide-ranging issues to further economic, commercial and energy ties between the two countries. The Emir also hosted a private lunch for Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur. 


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