We’re proud of strong ties with India: Emir
QNA NEW DELHI THE Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and HH Sheikha Moza on Monday attended a dinner banquet held in their honour by the Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the presidential palace. At the start of the function, the Indian President welcomed HH the Emir and HH Sheikha Moza. She recalled the visits HH the Emir to India in 1999 and 2005 and HH Sheikha Moza in 2006 as well as the visit to Qatar by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008, all serving as significant steps contributing to the enhancement of relations between the two countries, she said. In his speech HH the Emir said, “We are grateful to the position of the Republic of India on this issue.” He also expressed his deep appreciation for the friendship between Qatar and India and praised the positive role played by India in the international community in general and in the Asian region in particular and said, “We are proud of our strong ties with India at all government and non-governmental levels and in all areas, and we are keen to continue to support and promote such ties.” He reiterated his thanks to the president of India, wishing her good health and for the people of India more progress and prosperity. The economic and trade relations between India and Qatar are based on strong foundations, especially on energy, the major pillar for the ties between the two countries, she said.
Qatar, she noted, is an important partner in India’s efforts towards securing stable energy supplies.
“Sustained growth of our economies offers new scope and opportunities for cooperation, yet the levels of bilateral trade and investments are less what they potentially could be. Hence, there is an urgent need to intensify economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples,’’ she added.
Patil noted that there are some half a million Indians in Qatar, expressing her appreciation of the hospitality accorded to the Indian community in the country.
Furthermore, she expressed her appreciation of the successes achieved by the State of Qatar in implementing its political and economic agendas.
“Your esteemed country may consider India an important partner” in these efforts for the welfare of the two friendly countries and their peoples’’, she stressed.
In reference to the current situation in the Middle East, Patil said her country believes it is important to ensure solutions to conflicts are found through conciliation and dialogue without resorting to violence.
For his part, HH the Emir expressed his profound thanks and appreciation on his own, HH Sheikha Moza’s and his accompanying delegation’s behalf for the kind feelings expressed in the speech of Indian president.
“These kind feelings are a reflection of the wellestablished relations between our two countries which we seek to take them to optimum level,” he said.
HH the Emir said that his visit to India comes at a time when there are historical changes in the Arab region towards freedom and democracy that protect human dignity and rights, adding that these changes have special dimensions especially with regard to how to meet the challenge of success to achieve a better future for the peoples of the region.
HH the Emir stressed that the position of Qatar towards these changes has been always in support of any Arab people with urgent and legitimate aspirations.
He said Qatar and India share great opportunities, prospects and common interest in pushing ahead the economic cooperation and coordination of their political efforts for the good of their peoples, as well as contribution to the dialogue of civilisations in order to correct misconceptions, promote mutual understanding between peoples and instil the values of tolerance and acceptance of others, in addition to continuing work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
HH the Emir expressed satisfaction over the similarity of views on issues of common interest and the contribution to international efforts to fight the scourge of terrorism and establish security and stability in the world.
He stressed that international peace and security were at the forefront of concerns to both countries.
For this reason, there is an urgent need to achieve a just settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
This settlement should ensure security for Israel and restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, he added.