Qatari dhow arrives at Mumbai after 2,818-km voyage

Mumbai, Oct 24 (IANS) Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao on Saturday accorded a ceremonial reception to the ‘Fath Al Khair 2’ that arrived at the Gateway of India here on a friendly visit.

The 45-metre long wooden dhow covered 1,522 nautical miles or 2,818 km sea voyage between Doha and Mumbai.

“The dhow’s visit has revived cultural and historic ties between the two port cities of Mumbai and Doha,” Rao said while extending a warm welcome to the captain and his crew.

He recalled how India and Qatar enjoyed close relations dating back to several centuries and is now home to around 600,000 Indians who contribute to the socio-economic progress of the Arab country.

In the olden days, businessmen from Qatar used to come by the Arabian Sea routes and sell pearls in south Mumbai’s famous Mohammed Ali Road and in return took back food grain and garments.

Presently, many Indian companies have set up base in Qatar and the country is the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, the governor added.

Present on the occasion were Qatar’s ambassador to India Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Al Abdulla, Mumbai’s Guardian Minister Subhash Desai, Labour Minister Prakash Mehta, general manager of Katara (cultural village) Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, diplomats from various countries and other dignitaries.

Dhows have been in use for over 2,000 years as trading vessels for ferrying items like fruit, fresh water or merchandise along the coasts of eastern Arabia, east Africa and south Asia.

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