External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday called on Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and discussed strengthening the economic and security cooperation between the two countries. Jaishankar, who arrived in Doha on Sunday for a two-day visit – which is his first to the Gulf nation as the external affairs minister, also handed over a personal communication from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sheikh Tamim.

Called on H.H. @TamimBinHamad, Amir of Qatar. Handed over a personal communication from PM @narendramodi. Deeply value H.H.’s warm sentiments for Indian community. Impressed by his vision of taking our partnership to a new level, Jaishankar tweeted. Jaishankar also called on Amir’s father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who handed over power to his son Sheikh Tamim in 2013.

Warm meeting with H.H Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. His leadership continues to guide India-Qatar relations. Appreciated his insights on global and regional developments, the minister tweeted. He also met Prime Minister Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, who is also the Gulf country’s Interior Minister.

Thanked him for the care given to the Indian community in the country Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaishankar tweeted. Discussed strengthening our bilateral economic and security cooperation, he added.

He conveyed the “special gratitude” to Qatar for taking care of Indians during the COVID-19 pandemic. India and Qatar have maintained close high-level contacts during the pandemic.

On Sunday, Jaishankar met business leaders in Qatar and highlighted the investment opportunities in India while appreciating the commitment for strengthening bilateral partnerships. Jaishankar also visited the Qatar National Museum on the first day of his visit before virtually interacting with the Indian community in the country.

In New Delhi on Saturday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Jaishankar will hold talks with his counterpart on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest during his visit. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani have spoken thrice on telephone in the past few months. External Affairs Minister and other cabinet ministers have also spoken with their Qatari counterparts,” the MEA said.

Qatar is home to over seven lakh Indians. The bilateral trade was USD 10.95 billion in 2019-20, according to official data. “Both sides remain committed to intensify bilateral cooperation in various fields including energy and investments. India and Qatar have also worked together to face the COVID-19 pandemic and coordinated smooth operation of flights under an air bubble arrangement,” the MEA added.