Nepal and the State of Qatar established diplomatic relations on 21 January 1977. The cordial and friendly relations between the countries established on the basis of mutual trust, respect, understanding and cooperation gained momentum on 11 July 2000, when Nepal established its Embassy in Doha. The relations were further solidified with the setting up of the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Kathmandu in August 2011 and official opening on 10 September 2012. Qatar has been one of the popular destinations among Nepali migrant workers over the past two decades. Nepal-Qatar relations have continued to grow over the years encompassing different areas of mutual cooperation.
Exchange of visits
Nepal-Qatar relations have been marked by the exchange of visits at different levels, which has contributed to further deepen the political, economic and cultural ties between the countries.
Visits from Nepali side:
- President Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari paid a state visit to Qatar from 30 October to 2 November 2018 upon the invitation of the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
- President Rt. Hon. Dr Ram Baran Yadav paid an official visit to the state of Qatar on 10-13 October 2011.
- Speaker of the House of Representative Rt. Hon. Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara visited Qatar on 6-10 April 2019. During the visit, he held bilateral meetings with Speaker of the Shura Council H. E. Mr. Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud and with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population Hon. Mr Upendra Yadav visited Qatar on 13 – 14 November 2018. During the visit, he held a bilateral meeting with Minister for Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs of the State of Qatar H.E. Mr. Yousef bin Mohammed Al Othman Fakhro.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat paid an official visit to Qatar in January 2017 in celebration of the 40th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
- Foreign Secretary Mr Shanker Das Bairagi visited Qatar on 23-26 January 2016.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Mr. Bam Dev Gautam visited Qatar on 11-14 2015. During the visit, he had a courtesy meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
- Attorney General of Nepal Mr. Babu Ram Kunwar visited Qatar on 25-31 October 2014.
- Minister for Labour and Transport Hon. Mr. Ramesh Lekhak visited Qatar on 20 January 2008.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Mr. Ramesh Nath Pandey visited Qatar in 2005 and 2006.
- King Gyanendra and Queen Komal visited Qatar in 2005 to attend the Second G-77 Summit.
- King Birendra paid a private visit to Qatar in 1999.
- Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala paid an official visit to Qatar in 1998.
Visits from Qatari side
- Director General of Passports and Expatriates Affairs of the Ministry of Interior Brigadier-General Mr Mohamed Ahmed Al Ateeq visited Nepal from 29 February to 1 March 2016.
- Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Dr Abdullah bin Saleh Mubarak Al-Khulaifi visited Nepal on 4-7 April 2015. During the visit, he paid courtesy calls on the President Rt. Hon. Dr Ram Baran Yadav and the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Mr Sushil Koirala. He also held bilateral meetings with Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Mr Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and with Minister of State for Labour Affairs Hon. Mr. Tek Bahadur Gurung.
- Attorney General Dr Al Bin Fetais Al-Marri visited Nepal on 17-18 July 2014. During the visit, he held a bilateral meeting with Attorney General of Nepal Hon. Mr. Babu Ram Kunwar. He also had a courtesy meeting with Minister for Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs Hon. Mr. Narahari Acharya.
- Environment Minister H.E. Mr Abdullah bin Mubarak bin Abboud Al-Midhadhi visited Nepal on 5-9 April 2012 to participate in the Conference on Mountainous Countries.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Shikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani visited Nepal in 2009.
Nepal and the State of Qatar have modest level of bilateral trade. The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal setback the ongoing trade relations. However, trade is gaining momentum back in the recent years. Nepal’s major export items to Qatar include yarn and man-made staple fibers; carpets and other textile floor coverings; vegetables; coffee, tea and spices whereas Nepal imports primarily plastics and articles thereof; copper and articles thereof; electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; iron and steel from Qatar. The following table reflects the bilateral trade figures between the two countries:
|Year||Export to Qatar (USD)||Import from Qatar (USD)|
Source: Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), Nepal
In a bid to enhance business engagements and create an economic partnership between the business communities of two countries, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Qatar Chamber of Commerce signed an Memorandum of U in 2018. An Agreement on Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation between the two countries is also in place since 2005.
Since the signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and Prevention of fiscal evasion in 2007, Qatar is exploring investment opportunities in Nepal. The country has shown interest in agriculture, energy and infrastructure sector in Nepal. Doha Bank, one of the leading banks in Qatar, opened its representative office in Kathmandu on 19 December 2018. The bank is expected to facilitate investment in Nepal.
Nepali diaspora in Qatar
Qatar is the first country to sign a labour agreement with Nepal. A Bilateral Agreement Concerning Nepalese Manpower Employment in the State of Qatar was signed on 21 March 2005 and its additional protocol was signed on 20 January 2008. The agreement is aimed at protecting and promoting the interests of the workers in the State of Qatar and also regulating the supply of Nepali manpower to Qatar.
The Agreement provisions for a Joint Committee for the timely review of the Agreement. The third Joint Committee meeting was held in Doha in March 2019. Earlier the Joint Committee meetings were held in June 2013 and March 2016 in Doha and Kathmandu respectively.
Qatar has introduced a number of reforms to secure the rights of the labourers working in the country. Nepali migrant workers have hugely benefitted from these reforms.
Nepali community is one of the largest communities in Qatar. As of March 2019, there are around 365,000 Nepalis living and working in Qatar. Nepalis are largely working in the unskilled sector. However, in recent times, the number of Nepali migrant workers has continued to increase in the sector of business, engineering, medicine and other professional services as well.
People to people connections
Bilateral Air Service (Civil Aviation) Agreement was signed on 8 July 2002 between Qatar and Nepal. Nepal Airlines, Himalayan Airlines and Qatar Airlines operate their daily flights between Kathmandu and Doha. Kathmandu-Doha-Kathmandu is a busy route with six daily direct flights.
With an aim to promote tourism in both countries, an MoU on Tourism Cooperation was signed in 2011. Nepal has been one of the nearest and affordable tourism destinations not only for Qataris but also for the large expatriate community residing in Qatar. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the royal family, was the first Qatari national to successfully climb Mt Everest. He scaled the top of the world on 22 May 2013. Similarly, Mr. Fahad Badar became the second Qatari national to climb Mt. Everest when he achieved the feat on 22 May 2019. He also became the first Arab to climb two mountains in a single expedition when he climbed Mt. Lhotse on 23 May 2019.
Embassy of Nepal