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Dr. Manmohan Singh

QATAR - Diplomacy

Mutual Prosperity

Former Prime Minister, India

Bio

India’s 14th Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh studied at Punjab University and later at Nuffield College at Oxford University. In 1971, he joined the government of India as Economic Advisor in the Commerce Ministry. This was soon followed by his appointment as Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance in 1972. Among the many governmental positions that he has occupied are Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Advisor of the Prime Minister, and Chairman of the University Grants Commission. Between 1991 and 1996, he was India’s Finance Minister. In 2004 he was sworn in as Prime Minister, winning a second term in 2009.

"Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in Qatar, numbering over 400,000."

What are your views on the bilateral relations between Qatar and India?

I believe that Qatar is one of India’s closest friends in the Gulf region. The enlightenment, openness, and respect for diversity shown by the leaders of Qatar has contributed greatly to Qatar’s rapid socio-economic development, and made it a model for the region as a whole. Our relations with Qatar are part of our historical, cultural, and civilizational links with the Gulf region. This is a region of vital importance to us. It is home to 5 million Indians, and an important source of our energy requirements.

To what extent do Indian citizens living in Qatar contribute to the Indian economy?

Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in Qatar, numbering over 400,000. The Indian community in Qatar has earned a reputation for hard work, diligence, and great enterprise. The hard work of Indian citizens living and working in Qatar is contributing to our mutual prosperity. Their annual remittances of over $700 million to India are an invaluable contribution not only to their families in India, but also to society at large. The government is undertaking measures to facilitate this process. Our financing requirements for the infrastructure sector alone are estimated at $500 billion in the next five years.

“Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in Qatar, numbering over 400,000.”

What is your outlook for growth in the Indian economy and what role can Qatar play in India’s economic trajectory?

The Indian economy rests on strong fundamentals. Since 2005, we have averaged 9% GDP growth per year. Our development efforts have been positively impacting our large agriculture sector, which has registered growth of over 4%. The resurgence of our rural economy and a more inclusive and balanced model of growth will, I am sure, create wealth for our people and get rid of ignorance and disease from the ancient land of India. The present international economic and financial situation has clouded some of the prospects of growth in the near term. I am, however, confident that the long-term outlook for our economy remains strong and robust. Our inherent strengths, the large size of our markets, the diversified industrial base we possess, and the strong and dynamic private sector will eventually allow us to return to a 9% growth trajectory. The current global financial crisis presents, in many ways, a rare window of opportunity for India and Qatar. The investment requirements of a large emerging economy like India and the large financial surpluses of an energy rich economy like that of Qatar can be married together to create a win-win situation for both our countries. Indian companies are also increasingly looking to invest in Qatar in such sectors as energy, construction, finance, and information technology.

© The Business Year – August 2013

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