Mumbai / Doha :India will be able to return to a 9% growth trajectory as its large market and diversified industrial base will help the nation overcome the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday.
Sealed: PM Singh (standing, second from left) looks on as minister of state for external affairs E. Ahamed (sitting left) and his Qatari counterpart sign a pact on security in Doha on Sunday. Atul Yadav / PTI
“The strong and dynamic private sector will eventually allow us to return to a 9% growth trajectory,” Singh said, according to an emailed copy of the speech he made in Doha, Qatar, during a visit there. “The present international economic and financial situation has clouded some of the prospects of growth in the near term.”
India expects growth between 7% and 7.5% next year, Singh told a meeting of Indians residing in Oman on Sunday during a visit.
Meanwhile, India and Qatar signed a defence cooperation pact late on Sunday night, described by officials as an agreement “just short of stationing troops” in the oil-rich Gulf region.
Within hours of Singh’s touchdown here on Sunday evening on the second leg of his three-day maiden visit to the Gulf, the two nations signed pacts on defence and security, dealing with areas such as maritime security, intelligence-sharing on terrorism, money laundering and transnational crime.
Joint training exercises, training of personnel, and maritime cooperation are highlights of the pact inked by defence secretary Vijay Singh and his Qatari counterpart last evening after Singh led talks with his counterpart Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani.
Another agreement on law and security enforcement was signed by minister of state for external affairs E. Ahamed and his Qatari counterpart. The pact lays the framework to share information and data on threats posed by extremists and other security and legal matters, officials said.
Separately, India on Monday sought an additional 5 million tonnes (mt) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar to meet its growing energy needs and has proposed to set up a gas-fired fertilizer plant in the Gulf nation to meet its needs for urea, a fertilizer.
Petroleum minister Murli Deora, who arrived here on Monday morning, met Qatar’s deputy prime minister and energy and industry minister Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah.
India currently buys 5mt of LNG a year from RasGas Co. Ltd of Qatar under a 25-year contract. The ex-ship price of $2.53 (Rs119.67) per million British thermal unit (mBtu) is considered a “steal” in current times of LNG prices breaching $20 per mBtu.
(Ammar Zaidi of ‘PTI’ contributed to the story.)