Bigger Bilateral Opportunities Lies Ahead between Qatar- India Relationships

Doha Bank hosted a Virtual Client interaction session on “Bilateral and Synergistic Opportunities between Qatar and India on 5th October 2021.

Mr. Manish Mathur, India Country Manager, Doha Bank gave the Welcome Note and Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank presented the Introductory Note and coordinated the entire proceeding.

H.E. Ambassador, Dr. Deepak Mittal, Indian Ambassador to Qatar said” India and Qatar have historical ties. Both understand each other, particularly people. We live in each other hearts with a closed chemistry between Leadership of both countries. They were able to converse and connect and to deal with challenges of people. India is 3rd largest trading partner for India and shows strength in trade. Qatar participates in energy security in India. India is participating in food sector for Qatar. I look at how to diversify the basket based on strengths on both sides. To build a comprehensive partnership is an area of focus. The Facility mechanism is required to realize this, one of them is Banking. Banks such as Doha Bank and QNB support on this. More direct shipping lines are between Qatar and India and bring down cost of logistics. To bring more coordination at G2G levels. Efforts to set up commerce groups and Joint Business councils between countries. We have more than 6000 Indian companies registered with Qatar. The energy of over 700,000 Indians has made Qatar a second home. The effort is to look partnerships such as Invest India and Invest Qatar on building investment opportunities. They have decided to set 2 task forces between countries one on investment and second on energy. The success is seen through QIA’s investments in electricity, renewables, and startups. QIA is looking towards east. India has entered Phase 2 of liberalization, improved ease of ranking. I am confident this will improve further. India provides financial stability. Strong FDI flows indicates Globe faith on India’s story. To push forward the agenda including production linked incentive (PLI) schemes. PLIS scheme give boost to 13 sectors in MSME. Strong taxation reforms have been focused by India. India is focused on sustainability, increasing the percentage of renewable energy. Qatar is increasing its LNG production; India is looking at Gas based economy. The $60bn infrastructure plan of India provides opportunities for Qatar. We have monetization pipeline from Govt through various infrastructure from India. Qatar efforts to develop ports and public private partnership and FIFA 2022 will give opportunities for Indian economy. Hospitality is an area to look due to FIFA 2022. The Northfield project of Qatar provides trade and technology opportunities for India. Qatar has successfully won 2030 Asian Games hosting. This also provides opportunities to India. India has 3rd largest startup ecosystem and it provides opportunities for Qatar.”

Hon’ble Ranjan Mathai, Former Foreign Secretary of India spoke on “India’s emerging role in global governance and the global economy”

He spoke on governance as the management of global affairs and relationships, covering sovereign issues and the management of global commons. “After the Second World War a system was put in place by the victors, which changed after the Cold War and the Rise of China. The rise of China has seen a new model of growth which has made China the world’s manufacturing hub; and new trends in global governance through the Belt & Road Initiative and institutions like the AIIB. India’s growing role is based on its growth in all factors of national power and its influence-soft power- relative to others. India has expanded its outreach through the UN, the G-20, G7+, and other fora; but its ability to play a larger role in global governance over time depends crucially on expanding its role in the global economy”. Mr. Mathai spoke on the political challenges and opportunities created by recent developments in Afghanistan, the slowing down of the Chinese trajectory, the resetting of global priorities because of climate change, and the emergence of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad. Tackling climate change will call for new energy systems and industrial feedstocks, perhaps new lifestyles also. India can contribute by shifting from coal to gas and renewables, increasing the output of the essentials for new technology products, with ESG weighed equally with P&L in balance sheets, and promotion of holistic development patterns. On the international level, India has set up institutions like the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure which are of greatest relevance to our partners in the developing world of Asia, Africa and Latin America and small island states. New opportunities are emerging through the Quad which is not just a strategic dialogue but could link the vast Indo-Pacific region in cooperation on maritime connectivity, pandemic preparedness, vaccines and healthcare, new technologies for biotech, semi-conductors, future telecom, space, and avionics, and tackling climate change. The opportunities can be realized if India becomes more relevant to the prosperity and security of other countries. which is why stepping up growth to above 9% pa (without debt overhang) is necessary. By growing its manufacturing, start-ups and digital infrastructure, its agriculture, mineral industries and services, India can become an engine of global growth. (Its contribution to world growth must rise from below 10% to over 20%.). India must raise its share of world trade from 3% to at least 10%. For this India must be in world trading arrangements, and supply chains and rapidly skill its youth to leverage demographic dividend. The process will require India to build robust partnerships in the Indo Pacific (perhaps in the Trans-pacific) and the booming Gulf region. Qatar can emerge as one of our critical partners through the LNG trade, complementarities in supply chains and investments. India and Qatar are both practitioners of multi-alignment with autonomy of decision making. We can expand dialogues on Afghanistan and West Asia to contribute to regional stability and growth.

Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, Chairman- Shailesh Haribhakti & Associates spoke on “Key Highlights of Financial Stability in India”

He said India has one of the best performing capital markets, with expectations of INR 800 billion of new issuances to hit primary markets, he also mentioned INR has been stable on account of astute RBI monetary management and the economy has reported current account surplus, remarkable growth momentum from low base. India is becoming a country of entrepreneurs; FX reserves are very comfortable covering over 18month’s payments. The country announced complete elimination of retrospective taxation, India used its food reserves to reach its rural population during the pandemic situation, and this resulted in better fiscal situation. He also said India can reach size of USD 5 trillion by 2025-28 if India scales up on Environmental, Societal and Governance initiatives like 1) Using energy efficiently 2) Use renewable energies 3) Managing waste responsibly. With regards to governance initiatives like 1) Tax strategy 2) Corporate risk management 3) Executive compensation 4) Board structure and brand independence 5) Corruption and bribery 6) Protecting shareholder interests and 7) Disclosing information on these topics.

India & Qatar can work on 1) Digital Technology – A digital twin needs to be imagined helping in crafting a strategy, requiring change of mind set, ability and willingness to invest. 2) Capturing the financial footprint company wise by using Artificial intelligence, algorithms, and machine learning. 3) Build a block chain technology – This will help in trade automation and avoid delays. He said it is no longer Public Pvt Partnership, it will be Pvt -Public partnership, and this will enable a tight handshake between India-Qatar.”

Mr. Chandrakanth Salunkhe, Founder and President – SME Chamber of India.

He said “It is a right time to encourage SMEs, given targets for exports. We have to focus more on various activities. We have become Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India). Banking has given proper support to SME. SME has become digital savvy. How can we connect with Qatar or Qatar Nearby countries for SMEs? Where we can focus manufacturing and inviting manufacturing in India. SMEs in India are becoming big. This is right time to target global economy. We are given level playing field.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on Global economy and Indian Economy. He said “According to IMF July 2021, The Global economy is projected to grow 6.0 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022. Advanced economies growth is projected at 5.6 percent in 2021 and 4.4 percent in 2022. Emerging and Developing economies is projected at 6.3 percent in 2021 and 5.2 percent in 2022. Indian economy expected to grow by 9.5% in fiscal ended 31st March 2022. India’s forex reserves have exceeded $600bn. India’s RBI has kept repo rate unchanged at 4%, maintained an accommodative stance in its August meeting. In the light of COVID19, India’s fiscal gave thrust on Healthcare and Well-being.”

On Qatar India Bilateral relationships, Dr. R. Seetharaman said ” In May 2021 Indian naval ship brought oxygen to Mumbai from Qatar to support India from recovering from COVID-19. Qatar Airways provided essential medical supplies to India in 2021 to support India from recovering from COVID-19. Qatar India trade above $9bn in 2020-21. Qatar’s FIFA 2022 will provide opportunities for Indian Companies in infrastructure, trade, and services. Direct Shipping lines between Qatar and India have increased to strengthen logistics for trade cooperation between countries. The Indian startup segment provides great investment opportunities for Qatar.”

Mr. Manish Mathur, India Country Manager, Doha Bank proposed the Vote of Thanks.

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