INDIA-QATAR RELATIONSHIP (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     13th February 2024        
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Context: In a significant diplomatic breakthrough for India, eight former Indian Navy personnel, who were initially sentenced to death in Qatar, have been released, marking a crucial turn of events in a case that has garnered international attention.


Background of the Case

  • In September 2022, former Indian naval officers were taken into custody by Qatari authorities on undisclosed charges.
  • After being detained for several months, it was disclosed by Qatari authorities that the eight former naval officers had been engaged in espionage activities, allegedly spying on Qatar's confidential submarine program for Israel.
  • Initially, the first bail request was turned down. But, in December 2023, the appellate court in Qatar commuted their death sentence to imprisonment ranging between three years and 25 years. 
  • The government of India, with the diplomatic channels managed to released these former officers.

    India-Qatar Relations

    • Historical Ties: India and Qatar share a natural partnership that dates back to 1973.
    • Political Relationship: 2023 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Qatar.

    oIndia was among the earliest nations to recognize Qatar's independence in 1971.

    • Economic Ties: In 2021, India ranked among the top four export destinations for Qatar and one of the top three sources of Qatar's imports.

    oThe bilateral trade between India and Qatar, valued at $15 billion, primarily revolves around LNG and LPG exports from Qatar to India.

    oDuring 2021-22, India's exports to Qatar amounted to US$ 1.83 billion, while imports from Qatar were US$ 13.19 billion.

    Qatar

    • Located: in the Western Asia, on the Northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
    • Bounded by: Saudi Arabia in the south, rest of three sides; it is surrounded by the Persian Gulf.
    • A strait of the Persian Gulf: Divides Qatar from its nearby island nation of Bahrain.
    • Capital: Doha.

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