External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit two countries in the Gulf region from 28 to 31 October 2018 at the invitation of her counterparts. She will have engagements in the State of Qatar from 28 and 29 October 2018 and in the State of Kuwait on 30 and 31 October 2018.
During her visit to the State of Qatar, EAM Sushma Swaraj will interact with her counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Sushma Swaraj will also call on Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. During her visit, EAM will also interact with the Indian community in Doha.
A press note by the Ministry of External Affairs said:
India and Qatar share millennia old historic multi-dimensional, relations. The bilateral visit of the Emir of the State of Qatar in March 2015 and Prime Minister of Qatar to India in December 2016 and that of the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Qatar in June 2016 have further boosted traditionally cordial and close ties between the two countries. Qatar hosts about seven lakh Indians who form the largest expatriate community there. Qatar is a reliable energy partner, supplying more than 50% of India’s natural gas imports. India’s bilateral trade with Qatar in 2017-18 was US$ 9.9 billion.
The next leg of the visit of EAM Sushma Swaraj would be to the State of Kuwait, where EAM will hold a bilateral meeting with her counterpart Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait. EAM Sushma Swaraj will also call on the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and interact with the Indian community. India and Kuwait have close and friendly bilateral relations. Kuwait is a reliable energy supplier to India and hosts about ten lakh Indians forming the largest expatriate community. India’s bilateral trade with Kuwait in 2017-18 was US$ 8.5 billion.
This will be Sushma Swaraj’s first visit as External Affairs Minister to both the countries.
The visit is in pursuit of India’s objective of enhanced engagement with the Gulf region which is in India’s extended neighbourhood. It will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues and will advance India’s growing engagement with these countries in particular and the region in general.