New Delhi: Qatar on Saturday assured India of the safety and welfare of 6.3 lakh Indian citizens in the Gulf nation in the wake of its lingering disputes with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.
The issue was raised by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during wide-ranging talks she had with her Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
Al-Thani called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and handed over a letter from the Emir of Qatar. He separately met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and discussed issues relating to security and defence cooperation.
"The minister assured us of the continued safety, welfare and well-being of the Indian community and briefed the Indian side about new labour laws in Qatar which favour expatriate workers," the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain had announced cutting diplomatic ties and closing all connectivity links with Qatar, alleging that it supported terrorism. Qatar had rejected the charges.
During the delegation-level talks, Al-Thani also conveyed to the Indian side that his country would continue to supply liquefied natural gas to India to support its energy requirement.
The Qatari foreign minister briefed the Indian side about its disputes with some of its neighbours and the situation in the Gulf region.
"He was briefed about India's position that peace and security in the Gulf are of paramount importance for the continued progress and prosperity of the region.
"Terrorism, violent extremism and religious intolerance pose grave threat not only to the regional stability but also to the global peace and order," said the MEA.
It said India is of the view that parties should resolve their differences through a process of constructive dialogue and peaceful negotiations.
Both the sides also deliberated on ways to deepen cooperation in areas of trade and investment.
During the talks, the Qatari side welcomed participation of the Indian companies in Qatar's infrastructure development, including in the ongoing FIFA 2022 World Cup-related infrastructure projects.
India's ties with Qatar have intensified in the last few years.
Qatari prime minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani had visited New Delhi in December last, when India had expressed keenness to invest in hydrocarbon projects in the Gulf nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatari counterpart had also discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security and agreed on joint action to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
Official sources said expanding cooperation in sectors such as energy, trade and investment were discussed in Saturday's meeting.
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2017 22:44 PM