Posted on April 17, 2018

The inaugural Qatar India Business and Investment Conference (QIBIC) was officially opened by H.E. Sultan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Qatar and H.E. MJ Akbar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs India, with the aim of strengthening long-standing bilateral ties and fostering entrepreneurship between Qatar and India.

H.E. Sultan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Qatar, inaugurated the conference alongside, H.E. MJ Akbar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs India and dignitaries including Mr. Abdullah Mubarak Al Khalifa, Chief Business Officer and Executive GM QNB, and Mr. K.M. Varghese, President of IBPC. The event was also attended by H.E. P. Kumaran, Ambassador of India and Mr. Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO of Manateq. The keynote addresses were followed by a series of high-level, agenda-setting panel discussions.

QIBIC, organised by the Indian Business & Professionals Council (IBPC), Qatar, and Reach Events, in collaboration with the Indian Embassy in Qatar, was created to explore new and innovative ways of strengthening the constant dialogue of two old friends. In his inaugural speech H.E. Soltan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Qatar said: “It is my pleasure to be here at this Conference as Qatar seeks to further develop investment and trade partners and offer investors facilities to tap into the local market. Qatar has deep-rooted and bilateral trade relationships with India and this conference will focus on ways of further cooperation in terms of energy, infrastructure, health, education, media and Information Technology.

“Qatar, through the new port and Hamad International Airport, offers world-class routes to connect with the world. Shipping lines between Qatar and India have made logistics more efficient and Qatar simplified tax law to offer better terms to investors. Qatar looks at India as an important investor destination and we are pleased that we have set-up the Qatari Indian Business Council.”

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H.E. MJ Akbar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs India said: “We are pleased to be at this conference that lays foundation of the most significant bridge between two sovereign nations. Relations between Qatar and India have always been good and the last years have been marked with several visits and desire to work together and build shared prosperity. Now it is time for business leaders to deliver on the promise of political leaders. Governments are enablers, they clear conditions in which businesspeople can find partnerships, and now we are depending on those business leaders to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment opportunities.”

Mr. Abdullah Mubarak Al Khalifa, Chief Business Officer and Executive GM QNB, added: “Qatar and India have a long-term brotherhood and strong trade relationships in various sectors and those relations continue to expand to cover most fields due to the closeness between the two countries’ leaderships and nations. The current world economic challenges require unity and cooperation between countries in order to face those challenges and proceed with our journey towards growth and prosperity. Conferences such as this are important to allow us to work together to find solutions and successful decisions to leverage the future of trade and economic relations between the two countries.”

Indian businesses have enjoyed great success in Qatar and QIBIC provides the ideal platform to showcase the range of opportunities for businesses in both companies, according to conference hosts IBPC. “IPBC is honoured to host this conference which constitutes a bridge between businessmen from India and their counterparts in Qatar to grow businesses. This first-of-its kind conference is the perfect platform to build on the strong ties between India and Qatar that are already in place and also extend their reach,” said the President of IBPC, Mr. K.M. Varghese. “It is a great forum to explore what is happening in both countries, and we hope this will be the first of a series of conferences that will grow to become an even more influential industry benchmark in the future.”  

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The opening session, titled ‘Doing Business in Qatar’, hosted by H.E. Sheikha Al Anoud Bin Hamad Al Thani, Managing Director, Business Development, Qatar Financial Center (QFC), discussed the various ways of setting up business in Qatar through different platforms, including QFC. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Ajay Kumar, Asst. General Manager, Asset and Wealth Management, on ‘Qatar India Winds of Change’, which examined Qatar-India relations with a focus on the current Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) that are in place and plans to enhance economic cooperation. Delegates were then given insight into ‘Doing Business in India’ by Mr. Gaurav Gupta, CEO QNB India, which outlined the options available for international companies and entrepreneurs looking to start a business in India. 

The second session of the opening day, ‘Digital Governance’ focused on the shift towards smart governance and the digitization of systems and processes. The day’s third thought-leading discussion examined the best practices for nurturing entrepreneurs and SMEs. Moderated by Dr. Nitham Hindi – VP Education, Qatar University, the next session ‘Logistics: Connecting the Dots’ was a lively panel discussion featuring Mr. Keegan Varella, Business Analyst of Manateq, Mr. Gautam L.Bellur, Senior Vice President- Corporate Development and Communications of Milaha, and Nishit Rastogi, Founder& CEO of Locus India.

Mr. Wahab Bou Hamdan, CEO Reach said: “The high level of support we have attracted for the inaugural QIBIC is very encouraging and emphasizes the appetite of so many key decision makers to build on the strong relations and bilateral bond between two countries. We are confident QIBIC will form an important part of the business conference calendar moving forwards as business opportunities between Qatar and India continue to flourish.” The second day of the conference today will focus on two main panel discussions. The first session will focus on the latest trends of supporting technology and innovation in Qatar, and the second will be a session on Infrastructure: New Tides of opportunity that will discuss mega projects in Qatar and the future plans related to infrastructure.

Among the key sponsors and partners of this year’s event include QNB; Manateq, Milaha, Mowasalat, Coastal Group, Jet Airways, Parex, and Inter-Tech.