Qatar has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Italian firm ob supplying the submarines to the Middle Eastern country. Thus, Qatar could be the first-ever Arabian state to operate those watercraft, according to Forbes USA.
Qatar is reportedly strengthening its naval forces. The Arab country expected to acquire submarines from NATO member Italy and turn into the first Persian Gulf Arab country with such cutting-edge naval vessels. So far, Iran is the only submarine operator in the Persian Gulf.
The company Fincantieri, one of the most powerful European shipbuilders, covers the “supply of cutting-edge naval vessels and submarines” to the Qatari Emiri Navy.
“Qatar may become the first Arab Persian Gulf state to operate submarines,” the report said.
As the state report reads, the Qatari submarines, which are likely to be relatively small light ones, could become an integral part of a much larger EUR 5 billion deal with Italy which was agreed in 2017.
The accord, it noted, included a large helicopter carrier, called a Landing Platform Dock (LPD), four warships and two patrol boats as well as shore support and help with a new offshore naval base.
Arab world countries are intensifying their military readiness
It further said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two of Qatar’s neighbours embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with Doha, have both stated needs to acquire submarines.
“Qatar has difficult relations these countries so the submarine acquisition could be seen, at least in part, as a response to these moves,” the report added.
The roots of the regional tensions are in 2017 conflict between Persian Gulf countries. Then, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a land, naval and air blockade on import-dependent Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Any kind of this allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led bloc presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. Meanwhile, Doha is steadily refusing the demands and stressed that it would not abandon its independent foreign policy.