PM leaves for Oman, Qatar tomorrow, hopes to accelerate trade

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hoped that his visit to Oman and Qatar, beginning tomorrow, would provide India an opportunity to discuss with the leaders of both the countries to leverage the vast surplus funds in the Gulf for development needs, and to accelerate trade and investment flows into each other's countries.

In a statement on the eve of his departure to Oman, the Prime Minister said the Gulf region is an area of vital importance to India's security and prosperity. India have always enjoyed a very special relationship with countries of the region and nothing epitomises this more than our ties with the Sultanate of Oman and the Emirates of Qatar.

Dr Singh, who leaves here tomorrow afternoon for Oman on the first leg of his visit, said it would give him an opportunity to renew with the leaders and people of Oman the very special affinity that has existed through the centuries. "Both India and Oman have a special vision for our bilateral relationship and I will use my visit to find ways in which we can concretise this vision into a broad and mutually beneficial cooperative framework between the two countries", he said.

The Prime Minister, who will be reaching Qatar on November 9, also said, ''India attach great importance to our ties with Qatar, which is one of the largest and most reliable suppliers of our energy needs from the region." Given the complementarities that exist, I am confident that we can build a mutually beneficial strategic partnership in this sector".

He said he would discuss with the leaders ways in which India can further strengthen relations and move them forward in all their dimensions.

"We have a large number of Indian citizens working in Oman and Qatar. Their contribution to these countries is widely acknowledged and appreciated by the authorities. I am grateful to both these countries for the very warm welcome that has been accorded to them. During my discussion with the leaders I shall also discuss ways in whichw e can better assure their safety and welfare", Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister leaves tomorrow afternoon on a three-day visit to oil-rich Oman and Qatar for talks with their leaders on several matters of bilateral interest, including energy security and regional and global issues.

The visit to Qatar is the first by an Indian Prime Mnister to that country.

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