India & Oman: MoUs On Military Cooperation

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    Recently, India and Oman renewed the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on military cooperation along with its annexure as well as on maritime issues.

    India-Oman Relations

    Bilateral Relations

    • Oman is a strategic partner of India and an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
    • India and Oman are linked by geography, history , culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations.
    • The people-to-people contact between India and Oman can be traced back 5000 years, diplomatic relations were established in 1955
    • The historical India-Oman bilateral ties were transformed into a strategic partnership in November 2008.

    Economic & Commercial Relations

    • Both India and Oman accord high priority to strengthening economic and commercial relations between the two countries.
    • Economic cooperation between India and Oman is reviewed through the institutional mechanism of the Indo-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
    • India is among Oman’s top trading partners, during 2019-20, bilateral trade was US$ 5.93 billion.
    • For Oman, India was the 3rd largest (after UAE and China) source for its imports and 3rd largest market (after UAE and Saudi Arabia) for its non-oil exports in 2018. 
    • Major items of Indian exports are: mineral fuels and products of their distillation, textiles, machinery, electrical items, chemicals, iron and steel, tea, coffee, spices, rice and meat products and seafood. 
    • Among major Indian imports are: urea, LNG, polypropylene, lubricating oil, dates and chromite ore.
    • Various Indian financial institutions and PSUs have their presence in Oman.

    Cultural Cooperation

    • India and Oman have close cultural relations.
    • Indian Social Club and its various regional, linguistic and sports wings actively promote Indian Culture in Oman, celebrating National Days, Festivals and Cultural diversity of India. 
    • Yoga is quite popular in Oman, especially among expatriates and local youth. 
    • The Embassy organized many events in 2019 to celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji

    Defence Cooperation 

    • It is a key pillar to India’s West Asia Policy with the most robust defence & security cooperation mechanisms.
    • There has been regular exchange of visits by Defence Ministers of both sides. 
    • India and Oman conduct regular biennial bilateral exercises between all three services. 
      • Army exercise: Al Najah
      • Air Force exercise: Eastern Bridge
      • Naval Exercise: Naseem Al Bahr

    Maritime Cooperation 

    • Oman is at the gateway of Strait of Hormuz through which India imports one-fifth of its oil imports.
    • India signed a pact with the country in 2018 to access the Duqm port of Oman.
      • The Indian Navy is able to use the facilities at Duqm port in Oman following the signing of a pact between the two countries
      • The port will act as India’s entry point for wider West Asia and Eastern Africa, a welcome development at a time when China has deployed strategic assets in the Indian Ocean Region,
      • The Port of Duqm is situated on the southeastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran.

    Image Courtesy: TOI

    Indian Diaspora

    • There are about 7,00,000 Indians in Oman, of which about 5,67,000 are workers and professionals (June 2020). 
    • There are Indian families living in Oman for more than 150-200 years. 
    • Thousands of Indians are working as doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, teachers, lecturers, nurses, managers, etc.

     Source :PIB