Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Shantaram Naik has asked Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to protect the interests of Indians in Qatar. “Around 6,50,000 Indians, including 10,000 Goans are living and doing business in Qatar, who according to a report, outnumber native Qataris by almost 2:1 ratio, their interest should be protected,” Naik said in an email to Swaraj this week.
Naik said the whole nation is concerned on account of recent Gulf crisis due to Saudi–led grouping of Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, Yemen and surprisingly, Maldives, cutting off diplomatic as well as, civil aviation and shipping ties with Qatar.
Naik further said that a local newspaper published from Goa has reported that “with the uncertain situation in Qatar, a large number of Goans and other Indians began rushing to supermarkets and stores in Doha to stock up on essential of food supply.”
Naik said “India takes over 90 percent of its natural gas import from Qatar. In addition, Qatar is in process of building a domestic airline in India.” “That itself puts India in a unique place. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand is among the top suppliers of oil to India,” Naik said quoting a media report.
In view of a serious situation developing in Qatar, India has to use diplomatic channels in the interest of Indian population there, the MP said. “The Government of India should not take things for granted, and that, Prime Minister’s visits do not necessarily help in such matters,” he said.