Swedish envoy to Qatar has described the bilateral ties as excellent, saying the partnership has deepened in recent years.
In an exclusive interview with The Peninsula, Ambassador H E Gautam Bhattacharyya said strong ties between Qatar and Sweden in several areas will continue to deepen in future in areas of common interest, including industry, sustainability, and innovation.
“Sweden and Qatar have excellent bilateral relations and have been growing since we established diplomatic relations 50 years ago. Next year, it will be ten years since the Swedish embassy in Doha has been established. Our collaboration has grown across the board. We collaborate in the industry, academia, people-to-people contact, and culture. It’s quite a broad relation given that these are two small countries,” he said, adding that there is scope for cooperation in different areas. Sweden wants to increase cooperation with Qatar in industry, energy, transport and infrastructure, healthcare, sustainability, innovation, education, and trade.
To boost the Swedish industry presence, the Embassy of Sweden in Doha hosted the latest edition of its Innovation and Sustainability Platform (ISP) under the theme ‘Innovative and Climate Smart Solutions for Transport: Land, Air, and Sea’. Bhattacharyya said the event was part of the embassy’s mission to foster knowledge exchange, build new partnerships, and stimulate collaborative innovation to achieve the sustainability-focused aspirations of Qatar and Sweden’s transportation sector.
“We just had a transport delegation from Sweden here in Qatar for a three-day visit. We see a huge interest in electrification, sustainable fuels, and new technologies which will improve the lives and help tackle climate change, [which is] threatening us all,” he said.
“The Qatari side has shown a positive response to the collaboration efforts, and Sweden aims to be a long-term partner with Qatar in its sustainability and innovation journey.”
He said trade relations between Qatar and Sweden have been growing steadily, with a trade volume of 4.5 to 5 billion Swedish crowns (approximately $445-500m). Sweden exports minerals, equipment for the energy and transportation sectors, and telecommunication products to Qatar.
In contrast, Qatar primarily exports petroleum-based products to Sweden. About 40 Swedish companies are operating in Qatar and most of them engage with all major stakeholders in the country’s transport sector.
These include the Ministry of Transport, Mowasalat, Hamad International Airport, and Qatar Airways.
Ambassador Bhattacharyya said Qatar and Sweden could cooperate in digitalisation, given Sweden’s expertise in financial technology and emerging fields such as artificial intelligence.
“Sweden has a growing ecosystem of small and medium-sized green technology companies, particularly in areas like energy, transport, and AI.
“These companies are looking for international partners, and Qatar is seen as a good fit,” he said.
Ambassador Bhattacharyya highlighted the potential for collaboration in humanitarian efforts, and applauded Qatar’s rising prominence internationally, describing it as “punching above its weight” and commending its strategic role in global discussions. He stressed the importance of relationship with Qatar for Sweden, highlighting the mutual benefits it provides in navigating the complexities of the modern world.
Bhattacharyya said Qatar and Sweden’s relations have expanded to people-to-people contacts.
Over the years, an influx of Qatari visitors to Sweden has been seen, with many Qataris visiting the Scandinavian nation for professional and personal purposes. Conversely, the ambassador highlighted how Qatar’s hosting of major global events, such as the FIFA World Cup, has increased the country’s visibility to the Swedish people.
Bhattacharyya said Sweden, a multicultural nation with a significant Arab and Muslim population, has established various collaborations with Qatar in sports academies and equestrian sectors, among others.
In terms of education, Sweden has emerged as a destination for Qatari students, offering high-quality and affordable educational opportunities. Notably, many Master’s programmes are taught in English, making them accessible to a diverse range of students. The ambassador said these deeper partnerships will continue to evolve and strengthen the relationship between Qatar and Sweden.
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