India and Qatar on Monday established a joint commission to review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.A joint declaration to this effect was issued following a meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during which both sides held comprehensive discussions on bilateral relations and regional and international issues."Both countries have decided to establish a joint commission to strengthen the relations between the two countries in various fields with a view to further the common interests of their two friendly peoples," the declaration stated.It stated that the joint commission will be charged with the following tasks: formulating the required basis to strengthen the relations between the two countries particularly in the economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, technological, information technology and educational fields; following up the implementation of the agreements concluded between the two countries; finding suitable solutions for the resulting problems of the implementation thereof; facilitating the exchange of information and expertise, and encouraging bilateral consultation in service of cooperation between the two countries.
The commission will be co-chaired by the Ministers of External Affairs and Foreign Affairs of the two countries or their representatives and may include representatives of the sectors concerned with bilateral cooperation in both the countries, according to the declaration."The joint commission will hold a meeting at a time agreed by both countries alternately in each country. Extraordinary session may be held at the consent of both the countries," it stated.Prior to her meeting with the Qatari Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj called on the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.According to Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, Sushma Swaraj and the Emir "recalled with fondness" the visit of the Emir to India in March 2015 that was reciprocated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2016 and discussed ways to move forward on the roadmap set by the leaders."Qatar is home to around 700,000 expatriate Indians and the Gulf nation is a reliable energy partner, supplying more than 50 per cent of India's natural gas imports."India-Qatar bilateral trade stood at $9.9 billion in 2017-18.Sushma Swaraj arrived here on Sunday on the first leg of her two-nation tour of West Asia that will also see her going to Kuwait.