Keen to bolster its strategic ties with India, oil-rich Oman has invited Indian industries to establish more joint ventures in sectors like finance, insurance, engineering and telecom as the “politically stable” Gulf nation sought to diversify its economy.
Days after the maiden visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Oman, her Omani counterpart Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said his country was keen to enhance trade and economic ties with India.
“Oman is a strategic and important partner to India in the Gulf region. Indeed, the two-countries are deep-rooted by geopolitical factors and socio-cultural and historical values across the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean as well,” Abdullah told PTI.
As the Sultanate’s economy is being keenly diversified in other areas such as tourism, fisheries, investment and agriculture, it was the endeavor of the Omani government to further reinforce the economic and trade ties with India by engaging in joint venture enterprises ranging from finance, insurance, engineering, construction, investments and telecommunications, he said.
The minister also lauded the role played by the over seven lakh-strong Indian community in Oman’s development.
The Indian community has contributed in “building, maintaining and reinforcing the infrastructures of the country at large. They are very much welcomed in the Sultanate and their work is appreciated,” Abdullah said.
Indians form the largest expatriate group in Oman. They also repatriate around USD 3 billion annually.
“You all are the vital organic links between India and Oman,” Swaraj had told a gathering here during her February 17-18 visit, the first by an Indian External Affairs Minister in seven years.
By providing highly skilled service at a competitive cost, the Indian community’s role has become indispensable for the Omani economy, Swaraj had said.
Abdullah said the visit of Swaraj to Muscat has enhanced bilateral political and diplomatic relations apart from strengthening Oman-India economic and commercial relations, given the fact that Oman is “politically stable and economically prosperous.”
Oman is among a few nations in the Arab world which have remained largely unaffected by the Arab Spring which has destabilised the regimes in the oil-rich region.
During Swaraj’s meeting with Oman’s top leadership, India and Oman reviewed their strategic ties and decided to expand defence and maritime cooperation in maintaining the stability and security of the Indian Ocean region.
Oman is a key trading partner of India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade exceeding USD 5.7 billion in 2013-14.