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  • Context (IE): Eight former personnel of the Indian Navy who were working in their private capacity were detained in Doha in 2022 and have been sentenced to death by a Qatari court.

India-Qatar Bilateral Relations

Bilateral trade

  • India’s bilateral trade with Qatar in 2022 23 was US$ 18.77 billion.
  • India’s export to Qatar during 2022 23 was US$ 1.96 billion, and India’s import from Qatar was US$ 16.8 billion. Therefore, the trade balance continues to be heavily in Qatar’s favour.
  • India is the third largest export destination for Qatar (China and Japan being the other two) and among the top three sources of Qatar’s imports, along with China and the US.
  • Qatar is the largest supplier of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India, accounting for over 48% of India’s global LNG imports.

Defence cooperation

  • The India-Qatar Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2008 and extended for another five years in 2018.
  • India regularly participates in the biennial Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) in Qatar.
  • Both countries have conducted joint naval exercises called “Zair Al Bahr” in two editions.

Indian Community

  • There are over 8,00,000 Indian nationals residing in Qatar.
  • They comprise the largest expatriate community in Qatar.

Qatar’s Influence in World Politics

  • Qatar played an important role as a mediator in the Doha Agreement between the US & the Taliban.
  • Qatar is leading mediation talks with Hamas and Israeli officials over the release of hostages after the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Challenges in the India-Qatar relationship

  1. Derogatory Comments: In 2022, a BJP spokesperson made derogatory references to the prophet, leading to objections from Qatar, which demanded a public apology from India.
  2. Jailing of eight ex-Navy personnel: The arrest & imposition of the death penalty on India’s ex-Navy personnel by Qatar without disclosing any valid reasons or credible evidence has created tensions.

Qatar

  • Qatar is a country in Western Asia.
  • It occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Qatar Qatar

  • It shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south.
  • The Gulf of Bahrain, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from Bahrain.
  • The capital is Doha, home to over 80% of the nation’s population.
  • It is a high-income economy backed by the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves.
  • Qatar is well known for its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network.
  • Qatar hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it the first Muslim and Arab country to host it.
  • The 2030 Asian Games will also be held in Qatar.
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