Jaishankar interacted with the business community and briefed them about the investment opportunities in India

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar began a two-day visit to Qatar on Sunday in a bid to further strengthen bilateral ties, including in trade and investment.

During an interaction with the India-Qatar Business Roundtable, he briefed them about the opportunities that had opened up with the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) campaign. He met the chairpersons of the Qatar Chamber (QCCI) and Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA).

He later interacted virtually with the Indian community in Qatar. The minister appreciated their contribution towards meeting the COVID-19 challenge and urged them to participate in the development of a New India.

This is Jaishankar's first visit to Qatar as External Affairs Minister. During the visit, Jaishankar is scheduled to meet the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani. He will also call on other important dignitaries of Qatar.

On the first day, the External Affairs Minister also visited the Qatar National Museum where he was briefed on the historical relations between the two countries. "Gujarat (literally) was an important door for commerce and contacts," he tweeted later.

India and Qatar have maintained close high-level contacts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

India and Qatar enjoy strong economic, cultural and people-to-people ties. Qatar hosts more than 7 lakh Indians.

The bilateral trade was US$ 10.95 billion in 2019-20. 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.