While the attention of the entire media was focused on Pakistan President Zardari and his son who were on a private visit to India, the Emir of Qatar and his consort arrived in New Delhi, almost unnoticed, on Sunday on an official visit.
A small Gulf state with a population of 1.7 million, Qatar was ranked by the US magazine Forbes earlier this year as the country with the highest per capita income in the world.
The magazine put Qatar’s 2010 GDP per capita, after adjustment for purchasing power, at US$ 88,000, way ahead of the UAE with $47,500, which was in the sixth place.
Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thami of Qatar is a shrewd ruler. He has allowed the United States to set up in his country a forward headquarters of its Central Command, which plays a critical role in all Western military activities in the West Asian and South Asian regions. He has also set up and sustained the Al Jazeera television station which is engaged in correcting the distortions in Western media coverage worldwide.
On his India visit the Emir is accompanied by his consort, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned, who, incidentally, is Unesco’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education. (Please see writeup at the Unesco website)
The photograph of the royal couple reproduced above was taken by The Hindu’s V. V. Krishnan on their arrival at New Delhi. It shows the Emir in traditional Arab costume and Sheikha Mozah in a Western dress.