Make in India Initiative, India-Oman Maritime Security and the Duqm Port are some of the key agenda to be discussed between India and Oman. The Oman Military delegation will be led by Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi. The Minister responsible for Defence Affairs in Oman will be on a three-day visit to India from Sept 25.
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Geopolitically and historically Oman is considered a strategic partner for India. The visit assumes importance as it will strengthen the already strong relations between the two countries.
Sheikh Hamad bin Saif bin Abdul Aziz Al Rawahi, ambassador of Oman, was quoted by the Financial Express saying, “The forthcoming visit is very important as it will give an opportunity to review the decisions that were made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman early this year. Since both countries share the Indian Ocean, maritime and coastal security is very important.”
“Also, Oman is the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to formalize Defence ties with India from joint military exercise and cooperation in anti-piracy and security matters. And we are also the first country from the region to start tri-lateral exercises with India. The next round of tri-lateral exercises will take place in 2019,” the envoy added.
While both countries are trying to find chances for joint production of military equipment in India under ‘Make in India’, Oman is already purchasing additional parts for some of its army equipment from Indian DPSUs.
Space is one area where Oman is interested to have deeper cooperation, whether it will be in building satellites, or using Indian satellite images for different sectors.
During the visit, India got access to the key Port of Duqm in Oman for defence use and logistical support. Under the MoU that was signed then, it was decided that the Port of Duqm and dry dock will be available for providing maintenance to the Indian Naval vessels. “This is of great significance as it allows India to expand its footprints in the Indian Ocean region,” a senior Indian Navy officer had told FE earlier.
As per a report by IE, the Port of Duqm is situated on the south-eastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean and is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran.
In a joint statement released at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, both nations noted that “the MoUs on cooperation in maritime security and between Coast Guards of the two countries signed in May 2016 have provided a firm foundation for deepening institutional interactions.”