India and Qatar take forward initiatives in mutual investments
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani during signing of agreements in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

India and Qatar on Monday largely eschewed discussions of a political nature such as Taliban's opening of an office in Doha and the situation in nearby Syria and Bahrain.

At a meeting, the Emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took forward the initiatives on mutual investments agreed upon during their previous detailed interaction in 2008.

Four pacts, including one setting in place the framework for a more intensive partnership in the hydrocarbons sector, were signed in their presence.

No political discussions

Although Qatar is among the few countries in the region with which India has a structure for joint maritime security and training besides an agreement on security and law enforcement seeking to check money laundering and transnational crime, official sources maintained that the discussions did not touch the political realm. This could probably be because after having voted against Syria and wholeheartedly supporting the Arab League plan, India had edged politically closer to the petro-monarchies in the region.

Building on a previous agreement to set up a $100-million fund to indicate their genuineness and credibility in investing in India's infrastructure sector, the sources said $5.5 billion of investments could be expected from Qatar.

Qatar in turn welcomed Indian companies bidding for projects and requested support for facilitating its investments.

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