Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his visit to Oman and talks with the oil-rich Gulf nation’s top leadership will impart a “substantial momentum” to all spheres of bilateral ties.
“This Oman visit is one I will cherish for a long time to come,” Modi tweeted before concluding his two-day visit to Oman during which the two countries signed eight agreements, including one on enhancing defence cooperation.
“This visit has helped in building upon the centuries-old ties between our enterprising people, and will impart a substantial momentum to our relations in all spheres, including trade and investment relations,” Modi said.
“Thank you Your Majesty Sultan Qaboos (bin Said al Said) for your exceptional warmth, hospitality and friendship, as also your personal attention to details, that made my visit to Oman one of the most memorable visits I have undertaken anywhere," the prime minister said.
Modi also expressed gratitude to the Sultan and the people of Oman for the tremendous support, goodwill and affection.
“We are deeply honoured and we look forward to the forthcoming 50th anniversary of your stewardship of Oman,” he said as he concluded his three-nation visit to the Palestine, the UAE and Oman.
Modi, who arrived here from Dubai on the final leg of his three-nation tour, led talks with Sultan Qaboos last night on a wide range of issues.
During the meeting, several aspects of the existing cooperation between the two countries and means of promoting the good relations between them were discussed, the official Oman News Agency reported.
“Charting out new frontiers in our bilateral relationship, PM @narendramodi led delegation-level talks with Sultan Qaboos of Oman. The two strategic partners discussed to strengthen cooperation in trade & investment, energy, defence & security, food security and regional issues,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Sultan Qaboos appreciated the contribution of “honest and hard working” Indian nationals in the development of Oman. After their talks, the two sides signed eight agreements, including an MoU on legal and judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters.
They also signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, special, service and official passports and an MoU on cooperation in the field of health, tourism and peaceful uses of outer space. The two sides also signed annexure to the MoU on military cooperation. According to Oman News Agency, it envisages the services of Duqm Port and dry-dock for maintenance for Indian military vessels.
Secretary-General of Oman’s Ministry of Defence Mohammed bin Nasser al Rasbi said there are many areas of cooperation with the Indian side, whether in the field of joint exercises, training or courses, as well as exchange of experiences between the two sides and some defence purchases and projects. India’s Ambassador Indra Man Pandey said that signing the MoUs will promote cooperation between the two friendly countries.
He said that the Indian companies have a strong presence in Oman and have significant investments in the Omani free zones and ports in Suhar and Salalah. He said Indian investments are estimated at USD 1.8 billion in two projects in Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZD). The volume of trade exchange during this year is expected to reach USD 5.5 billion, Pandey was quoted as saying.
The two countries also signed an agreement on cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman’s Diplomatic Institute. An MoU on academic and scholarly cooperation between National Defence College, Sultanate of Oman and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Modi today met Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said and Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs Sayyid Asa’ad bin Tariq Al Said.
Modi and the two leaders exchanged views on intensifying ties in the areas of energy, trade and investment, food security, defence and security, mining and other sectors. He also had a meeting with leading business leaders and investors.
Modi also offered prayers at the 125-year-old Shiva Temple, one of the oldest in the region. He also visited the iconic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the main mosque in Oman. In Oman, there are over eight lakh Indians and they constitute the largest expatriate community. The prime minister had also addressed the Indian community last night.
On the first leg of his trip, Modi had travelled to Ramallah, becoming the first Indian prime minister to make an official visit to Palestine. From there he visited the UAE, before arriving in Oman.