CON­SOL­I­DAT­ING TIES

Oman - A Nation on the Move - - Diplomat Viewpoint -

On be­half of the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of In­dia, I ex­tend hearti­est fe­lic­i­ta­tions and best wishes to His Majesty Sul­tan Qaboos bin Said al Said as well as the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Oman on the joy­ous oc­ca­sion of the Na­tional Day of the Sul­tanate of Oman. In­dia and Oman have al­ways en­joyed very close and friendly re­la­tions. We are mar­itime neigh­bours linked by geography, his­tory and cul­ture. Our civil­i­sa­tional and his­tor­i­cal links span over 5000 years. In re­cent years, un­der the wise lead­er­ship and guid­ance of His Majesty Sul­tan Qaboos, our re­la­tions have evolved into a strate­gic part­ner­ship. The visit of Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia, Naren­dra Modi in Fe­bru­ary this year has im­parted a fresh mo­men­tum to In­di­aO­man part­ner­ship. Eight Agree­ments/ Mous were signed dur­ing the visit to pur­sue co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields in­clud­ing De­fence, Space, Tourism and Health. Both sides agreed to de­velop co­op­er­a­tion in other new areas such as cy­ber se­cu­rity, en­ergy se­cu­rity, re­new­able en­ergy and food se­cu­rity. In­dia ac­cords high pri­or­ity to ex­pand­ing its eco­nomic and com­mer­cial ties with Oman. Given the strong peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­nect as well as air and mar­itime con­nec­tiv­ity, there is po­ten­tial to el­e­vate the level of eco­nomic en­gage­ment. The In­dia-oman Joint Com­mis­sion Meet­ing in July 2018, co-chaired by Commerce and In­dus­try Min­is­ters of the two coun­tries, un­der­took a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the ex­ist­ing level of eco­nomic and com­mer­cial co­op­er­a­tion and ex­plored means of ex­pand­ing it. Bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment be­tween In­dia and Oman re­main ro­bust and buoy­ant. Bi­lat­eral trade rose by 67 per cent to reach $ 6.7 bil­lion in 2017-18 (AprilMarch). In­vest­ments in more than 3000

Indo-omani busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments have reached $ 7.5 bil­lion in 2017-18.

There is sig­nif­i­cant scope for en­hanc­ing mu­tual en­gage­ment and co­op­er­a­tion in sec­tors like food se­cu­rity, power (in­clud­ing re­new­able en­ergy), min­er­als and min­ing, agri­cul­ture, IT & IT en­abled Ser­vices, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, health-care, etc. In­dia can be a re­li­able part­ner for Oman’s na­tional pro­gramme for eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. Sim­i­larly, we view Oman as a pri­or­ity part­ner for many of our flag­ship pro­grammes.

In­dia is also ready to share its ex­pe­ri­ence with Oman in skill de­vel­op­ment of youth and de­vel­op­ment of small and medium en­ter­prises. In­dia has been con­tribut­ing to hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment of Oman through pro­vid­ing pro­fes­sional train­ing un­der its In­dian Tech­ni­cal and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (ITEC) Pro­gramme.

In­dia and Oman have been co­op­er­at­ing on se­cu­rity mat­ters, in­clud­ing coun­tert­er­ror­ism. Both coun­tries also have ro­bust de­fence co­op­er­a­tion, which is a key pil­lar of our strate­gic part­ner­ship. The three wings of the Armed Forces hold staff talks and ad­vanced joint ex­er­cises with each other. We are happy that HE Sayyid Badr Saud Harib Al Bu­saidi, Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for De­fence Af­fairs of Oman, paid an of­fi­cial visit to In­dia in Septem­ber 2018 which pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to re­view the progress in de­fence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

In­dia and Oman have close cul­tural re­la­tions. Af­firm­ing the sup­port of Gov­ern­ment of Oman, HE Yusuf bin Alawi bin Ab­dul­lah, Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for For­eign Af­fairs of Oman, had in­au­gu­rated the First ever Fes­ti­val of In­dia in Oman dur­ing Novem­ber 2016-March 2017. Pop­u­lar­ity of Yoga has been ris­ing, as re­flected in in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in celebration of In­ter­na­tional Day of Yoga on June 21 ev­ery year.

The In­dian di­as­pora in Oman has played a crit­i­cal role in ce­ment­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween our two coun­tries. It has also made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the eco­nomic progress of Oman. We deeply ap­pre­ci­ate the warm hos­pi­tal­ity ac­corded by the Gov­ern­ment of Oman un­der the lead­er­ship of His Majesty to the In­dian di­as­pora. There are about 800,000 In­di­ans in Oman. The large, di­verse and highly re­garded ex­pa­tri­ate In­dian com­mu­nity in Oman is spread over the en­tire spec­trum of pro­fes­sions. Thou­sands of In­di­ans are work­ing as doc­tors, engi­neers, char­tered ac­coun­tants, teach­ers, lec­tur­ers, nurses, man­agers, etc. The vi­brant In­dian com­mu­nity in Oman reg­u­larly or­gan­ises cul­tural pro­grammes and in­vites artistes and singers from In­dia.

A notable fea­ture of peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts be­tween In­dia and Oman in re­cent times has been the in­creas­ing tourist flow to ‘In­cred­i­ble In­dia’ from Oman. In re­cent years, In­dia has emerged as a cov­eted des­ti­na­tion for Oma­nis for tourism, in­clud­ing med­i­cal tourism. In­dian tourists are also trav­el­ling in larger num­bers to en­joy the scenic beau­ties and warm hos­pi­tal­ity of Oman. The two coun­tries are well con­nected by 260 weekly flights di­rectly link­ing eleven des­ti­na­tions in In­dia with Oman.

In­dia re­mains com­mit­ted to fur­ther strength­en­ing and ex­pand­ing its strate­gic part­ner­ship with Oman and looks for­ward to work­ing with all stake­hold­ers to pur­sue this shared ob­jec­tive.

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