India and Qatar have agreed to set up a Joint Commission to strengthen the relations between the two countries in various fields. The announcement came on 29 October after a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Qatari Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha.

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj & Qatari DyPM & FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani held comprehensive discussions on bilateral relations, regional & international issues.A joint declaration to establish a JCM was  signed,” tweeted MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

Swaraj, who is on her first visit to the Gulf country, agreed with Al Thani that there was a need to further the common interests of the people of their respective nations.

The Joint Commission will be charged with strengthening economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, technological, information technology and educational ties between India and Qatar.

Co-chaired by India’s MEA and Qatar’s Foreign Affairs, the JCM is also tasked with following up on the implementation of the Agreements concluded between the two countries and also find suitable solutions for the resulting problems of the implementation.

In the joint declaration, India and Qatar said that the JCM will also facilitate the exchange of information and expertise, and encourage bilateral consultation in service of cooperation between the two countries.

The decision to form a JCM was taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Qatar from 4-5 June 2016 in his meeting with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar.

A meeting of the JCM will be held alternately in each country at a time agreed by both nations. It can also form subordinate committees or permanent or temporary joint working groups who can present their recommendations to the Joint Commission for consideration.

While the scope of cooperation may be modified with mutual written consent of both the countries, the draft agenda for each JCM meeting will be decided by consultation between the two countries through diplomatic channels in advance of the respective meeting.

The MEA spokesperson said that Swaraj also met Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani before her meeting with the Qatari FM during which she recalled the visit of the Emir to India in March 2015 that was reciprocated by PM Modi in June 2016 in her meeting with Al Thani.