Oman and India establishing strategic partnership
The bilateral relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of India witness a remarkable progress and an advanced cooperation that contributed in establishing strategic partnership based on mutual trust and respect and enhanced by historic deep-rooted ties.
The talks was held by Sultan Haitham bin Tarik with the Indian leadership in New Delhi scaled up the existing strategic partnership between the two countries towards high ranks through promoting trade, investment and cooperation to achieve integration between the two sides in diverse fields.
The size of commercial exchange between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of India stood at RO 1.447 billion as at the end of third quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, the volume of Omani exports to India stood at RO 699.218 million represented in oil, minerals, LNG, polyethylene, propylate, aluminum and urea.
On the other hand, the volume of Omani imports from India amounted to RO 747.883 million represented in rice, motor fuel, natural gasoline, wheat, ignition control of vehicles and iron ore.
The volume of investments from the Republic of India in the Sultanate of Oman by the end of June 2023 amounted to RO 378.4 million. The number of Indian companies investing in the Sultanate of Oman by the end of 2022 reached 1,744 with an investment volume of RO 281 million. These investments distributed in sectors of industry, construction, trade, transportation, communications, oil and gas, mining, quarrying, education, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and health.
The invitation extended by the Republic of India to the Sultanate of Oman as a guest of honour in the G20 Summit which it hosted, represents an affirmation of the advanced and sincere relations between the two friendly countries. These relations were confirmed by Muscat and New Delhi during the eighth Omani-Indian strategic dialogue session last January 2023, which highlighted the top priority that the two leaderships attach to strengthening bilateral strategic relations based on mutual trust and respect.
Issa bin Saleh Al Shaibani, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the Republic of India, said that what unites the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of India is their ancient civilizations, and their historic deep-rooted relations, which are embodied through a combination of historic, cultural and economic interdependence. These relations, the ambassador noted, flourish during the current era, strengthened by the two wise leaderships of both countries, and a common outlook towards a growing political position, a developed and prosperous economy.
Al Shaibani added in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) that since the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1955, they have taken great strides in the field of strategic cooperation, the positive outcomes we are witnessing clearly in the increase in the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries to about USD 10 billion during the period from 2021 to 2022.
The ambassador explained that the maritime trade routes that were established between the Sumerian civilization and the Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley highlight the great historical significance of the relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and India, which created a lasting legacy reflected in the cultural and social fabric of both countries. This ancient connection, dating back to the Bronze Age, he added, laid the foundation for a strong relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.
He stated that the Indian community in Oman plays a prominent role being a cultural and commercial bridge between the two countries. This interaction is a testament to the harmonious coexistence and mutual respect that defines Omani-Indian relations. The Sultanate of Oman, by virtue of its strategic location, the ambassador said, is a major station not only for commercial exchange, but also for cultural and knowledge rapprochement.
He stressed that the policies of the two countries have contributed to diversifying areas of cooperation and exploring new opportunities in the energy, trade, investment, and defense sectors, and that this approach is consistent with the economic interests of both countries and the shared future vision of the leaders of the two countries.
He pointed out that the relations between the two countries represent a model of international cooperation which has been established and developed over thousands of years. This cooperation focused on common goals and mutual prosperity under the auspices of current diplomatic efforts, concluded the ambassador.
Amit Narang, Ambassador of the Republic of India to the Sultanate of Oman said in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) that the visit of the Sultan to India comes in the wake of the successful participation of the Sultanate of Oman as a guest of honor in the G20 meetings chaired by India. He indicated that the discussions during the visit contributed to strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries and drawing a new blueprint for future cooperation between them.
He added that the leadership of the two countries attaches a great importance to strengthening these relations through mutual trust, respect and social ties that extend for thousands of years, thanks to high-level bilateral contacts. At the same time, the ambassador highlighted the visit made by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, to the Sultanate of Oman in February 2018, as well as the fruitful discussions he held with the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He also referred to the regular communication by phone between Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and the Indian Prime Minister in April 2020 and February 2021.
The ambassador described the Indian-Omani relationship as “special,” and that the two countries have been linked across the Arabian Sea for more than five thousand years, Thus, the Omani and Indian peoples have exchanged throughout this period goods, services, ideas, and common civilizational and cultural aspects.
He pointed out that these solid foundations between the two countries have contributed to the development of bilateral relations in the modern era into a multi-faceted strategic partnership stretching over fields of trade, investment, defence, maritime security, education, health, green energy, information technology and innovation.
The ambassador explained that the future heralds continued achievements for both countries, given the convergence between “Oman Vision 2040” and India’s development achievements as the fastest growing economy in the world. The future presents a promising roadmap to achieve the common aspirations of the Omani and Indian peoples.
He also spoke of the remarkable success achieved by India’s presidency of the G20 summit under the slogan (One Earth, One Family, One Future), where the world was able to come together to outline a new vision for a more resilient and sustainable future.
The ambassador stressed that India’s invitation to the Sultanate of Oman to participate in the G20 meetings demonstrates the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries. He also commended the Sultanate of Oman’s participation in 150 related G20 meetings, which were purposeful and constructive. He affirmed that the views and visions presented by the Omani side contributed to enriching the wide-ranging discussions during the summit.
The Indian ambassador stated that economic relations between India and the Sultanate of Oman are witnessing a strong recovery, as bilateral trade has doubled from USD 5.4 billion in 2020-2021 to USD 12.3 billion in the fiscal year 2022-2023. He also noted that India is also among the largest investors in the Sultanate of Oman, as it has a strong presence in ports and free zones in Sohar, Salalah, and increasingly in Duqm.
The ambassador also highlighted the tremendous opportunities to expand the scope of economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in the coming years due to the fact that the Indian economy is on the verge of becoming the third largest economy in the world, in addition to the purposeful steps taken by the Sultanate of Oman for economic diversification.
Meanwhile, Faisal bin Abdullah Al Rowas, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said that the Chamber has been keen to ensure that the Omani private sector plays an important role in the growth of trade relations. OCCI operates business delegations to the Republic of India and receive Indian delegations in the Sultanate of Oman to explore ways of cooperation and conclude partnerships between businesspersons in the two countries.
He added in a statement to the Oman News Agency (ONA) that the Omani-Indian Business Council plays an important role in supporting these ties in view of the promising opportunities enjoyed by the two countries’ economies. The Sultanate of Oman offers many opportunities for investment, especially in lucrative sectors that can be relied upon to achieve economic growth. Likewise, the Indian economy is characterized by robust growth supported by a huge number of labor forces and a large consumption capacity. It is an economy that provides the business sector in both countries with diverse opportunities and mutual interests, Al Rowas said.
Dr. Salem bin Salayum Al Junaibi, Member of the State Council and Chairman of the Board of Directors of OCCI, Al Wusta Governorate Branch, touched on the possibility of the two countries benefiting from the exchange of experiences. He explained that the Sultanate of Oman can benefit from Indian expertise in the sectors of mining, tourism and information technology. Similarly, India can also benefit from the strategic location of the Sultanate of Oman and the available logistical services, in addition to potential investment in many opportunities, especially in the tourism and real estate sectors.
He said in a statement to the Oman News Agency (ONA) that there is a room for Omani companies and investors to explore with their counterparts from the Indian side the qualitative commercial opportunities needed by the Omani market, as well as the possibility of expanding branches of their projects in India for being a large market that accommodates many projects in various fields.
For his part, Dr. Khalid bin Said Al Ameri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Omani Economic Association, underlined the increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries during the last period, with the continuation of negotiations to conclude free trade agreements, and that the trade relations between them indicate tangible progress.
He added in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) that the Republic of India is one of the most important trading partners of the Sultanate of Oman, as it is among the top five countries in terms of the value of trade exchange with the Sultanate of Oman. He pointed out that the intra-regional trade with the Republic of India represents about 8 percent of the total volume of trade exchange of the Sultanate of Oman with world countries in 2022. He noted that the trade balance of bilateral trade between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of India tends in favor of Oman, especially in the recent years 2021 and 2022.