India today discussed with Qatar the issue of welfare of its citizens in the Gulf nation in the wake of its lingering disputes with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.
In wide-ranging talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the two sides also deliberated on ways to deepen cooperation in areas of energy, trade and investment.
The External Affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said bilateral issues, including welfare of Indian workers in Qatar were discussed in the talks between Swaraj and Al-Thani. As per estimates, over six lakh Indian nationals are currently working in Qatar.
In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain had announced cutting diplomatic ties and closing all connectivity links with Qatar, alleging that it supported terrorism. Qatar had rejected the charges.
In its reaction, India had asked countries in the region to resolve the crisis through constructive dialogue and well-established international principles of mutual respect. India's ties with Qatar have intensified in the last few years.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani had visited New Delhi in December during which India had expressed keenness to invest in hydrocarbon projects in the Gulf nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Qatari counterpart had also discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security and agreed on joint action to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
Official sources said expanding cooperation in sectors such as energy, trade and investment were discussed in today's meeting.