Maritime security, Make in India, review on the Port of Duqm are some of the issues expected to be reviewed when accompanied by a high level defence delegation, Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi the Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, Oman arrives in India on a three day visit from Sept 25.
Since Oman is considered a strategic partner for India geopolitically and historically, the visit assumes significance as it will strengthen the already strong relations between the two countries.
Talking to FE Online, Sheikh Hamad bin Saif bin Abdul Aziz Al Rawahi, ambassador of Oman, said that, “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,” the envoy added.
“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,”he added.
While both countries are trying to find ventures for joint production of defence equipment in India under `Make in India’, Oman is already buying spare parts for some of its military equipment from Indian DPSUs.
Space is one area where Oman is keen to have deeper cooperation, whether it will 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 military 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.
According to a report in the 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 PM Modi’s visit, both countries 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.”