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India defies Gulf blockade with direct Qatar shipping route Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

India defies Gulf blockade with direct Qatar shipping route

Qatar's Hamad Port is proving to be a major lifeline for the blockaded nation [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 June, 2017

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Ships from India will now arrive directly in Qatar's Hamad Port without having to stop anywhere in the Gulf, offering fresh relief to the small emirate blockaded by its neighbours.
Ships full of food and supplies from India will now arrive directly in Qatar's Hamad Port without having to stop anywhere in the Gulf region, offering fresh relief to the small emirate blockaded by its neighbours since June 5. 

The new route links Hamad Port in Qatar with Mundra and Nhava Sheva ports in India, according to the Qatar News Agency.

Indian ships will arrive at Hamad port every Friday, with the first shipment expected to bring in 710 containers, said Qatar's Ministry of Transport.

Qatar has been looking to break the blockade imposed on it by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, blocking several of Qatar's usual land and maritime freight routes. Flights have also been affected by its Gulf neighbours refusing to let Qatar carriers use their airspace.

Doha has established direct shipping routes with Oman and has sought alternative suppliers of foodstuffs and goods from nations such as Turkey and Iran.


The Qatari authorities have also moved to reassure citizens and residents that they can weather the blockade without significant damage to the economy and daily life.

The blockade has been criticised by international human rights groups for its potential effect on ordinary citizens.

The three countries and their allies beyond the Gulf region severed ties with Doha without warning last week.

They ostensibly claim Qatar supports "terrorist groups" - a charge Doha vehemently denies - but the move is likely meant to force Qatar to shift its independent foreign policy to be more in line with those of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and their allies.

Qatar has struck a defiant tone, vowing not to bargain over "sovereign matters".

The crisis has drawn in mediation efforts so far from Kuwait, Turkey, Germany, France and Morocco.

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