India and Oman have signed eight Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) in different areas including defence, health and tourism. The MoUs were inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Oman.
They were signed after delegation-level talks between PM Modi and Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said in Muscat. They held wide-ranging discussions on measures to strengthen co-operation in trade and investment, energy, defence, security, food security and regional issues. Oman was last leg PM Modi’s visit to three west Asian countries viz. Palestine, UAE and Oman.
Signed MoUs are
- MoU on Cooperation in the field of health
- Annexure to the MoU on Military Cooperation.
- MoU on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
- MoU in the field of Tourism cooperation between India and Oman.
- Agreement on Legal and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial matter
- Agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, Special, service and official passports
- MoU on Cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman Diplomatic Institute.
- MoU on Academic and Scholarly cooperation sectors between National Defence College Sultanate of Oman and the Institute for Defence Studies and the Analyses.
Oman is a strategic partner for India in the Gulf. It accords a high priority to its ties with India. Both countries across Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture. They enjoy warm and cordial relations and have had trade and people-to-people ties for several millennia
Expatriate community: Oman is home to a large Indian expatriate community. India is major destination for Omani students pursuing higher studies and also medical tourists.
Trade: It is India’s important trading partner. In 2010, bilateral trade between India and Oman was $4.5 billion. India. Oman was second largest destination of India’s non-oil exports and its fourth largest source for imports. Indian and Omani firms have undertaken joint ventures in wide range of sectors including fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, energy and engineering.
Defence co-operation: Oman is first Gulf nation to have formalised defence relations with India. Both countries conducted joint military exercises in 2006 and subsequently signed defence agreement. Indian Navy has berthing rights in Oman, and has been utilising Oman’s ports as bases for conducting anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden.