Amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf countries, especially in Qatar and Kuwait, India assured Qatar of its assistance in meeting the Islamic country’s food security.
During his three-day visit to Qatar, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu assured the Qatari leadership of India’s assistance in meeting Qatar’s food security.
According to a press release by the Ministry of External Affairs, Qatar invited Indian entities to look for opportunities in sectors like education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare in Qatar.
“Both sides discussed the impact of recent global developments on food and energy security. They renewed their long-term commitment to energy partnership. HVPI (Honourable Vice President of India) assured the Qatari leadership of India’s assistance in meeting Qatar’s food security,” the statement added.
India and Qatar have launched A Start-Up Bridge between Invest India and Invest Qatar to push start-up sectors, and an understanding has been reached to set up an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies at Qatar University.
Qatar was facing a severe food crisis after three of its neighbours—including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—cut diplomatic ties with the country, accusing it of funding Islamic terrorism in 2017.
Since then, food security has been high on Qatar’s priority list, as the Qataris still depend on food imports. India has been assisting the Gulf country in terms of increasing its growth of livestock and crops for the last many years.
During the food crisis in 2017, as an immediate relief for Qatar’s food insecurity, India sent food and supplies to Doha through direct shipping routes linking Qatar’s Hamad Port to India’s ports in Mundra and Nhava Sheva (otherwise known as the Jawaharlal Nehru Port).
On Sunday, the Foreign Ministry of Qatar said that it summoned Indian ambassador Deepak Mittal and handed him an official note, expressing “total rejection and condemnation” of the remarks of a BJP leader about the life of Mohammed, the founder of Islam religion.
In the official note, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi pointed out that allowing such “Islamophobic remarks” to continue without punishment constitutes a “grave danger” to the protection of human rights and may lead to further “prejudice and marginalisation”, which will create a cycle of violence and hate. The note claimed that more than two billion Muslims worldwide followed the guidance of Prophet Mohammed and affirmed that these “insulting remarks” would lead to incitement of religious hatred and offend Muslims. Subsequently, various Islamist Twitter handles called for the boycott of Indian products in Arab countries.