A pact to enhance cooperation in the key sector of oil and gas exploration is among the six agreements inked between India and Qatar on Monday, which has the world's third-largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani held comprehensive talks on a whole gamut of bilateral ties, including boosting trade as well as energy cooperation and welfare of Indian workers.
There are around 500,000 Indians in the Gulf country. After the talks, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh al-Sada signed an MoU to establish a cooperative framework to facilitate and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector for mutual benefit.
It envisages cooperation in the areas of upstream and downstream oil and gas activities.
It is expected to encourage and promote investment and cooperation between two ministries of oil and gas and through affiliated companies.
Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, which buys 7.5 million tonnes/per year of LNG from it. India wants to have huge additional supply of oil and LNG from Qatar but pricing is an issue.
Other pacts are in the areas of educational exchanges, cultural contacts, promoting tourism and cooperation in legal affairs.
An MoU was also signed between the Reserve Bank of India and Qatar Central Bank for sharing of supervisory information and enhancing cooperation in the area of banking supervision.