India-Oman join hands over maritime transport to expand trade

India all set to expand trade ties with Oman as Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar visits Muscat on December 24 to sign a maritime transport agreement. This is Jaishankar’s first visit to the country, since the new government regained power in May 2019.

On his visit to Oman, the Indian minister is expected to meet his counterpart Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah. He would also hold meetings with other ministers and interact with Indian community to discuss matters of mutual interest. The agreement is an attempt by the Indian government to increase cooperation with Oman and the Gulf region, which is it’s extended neighbourhood.

As part of the agreement, Muscat gave Delhi access to its Duqm port, also permitting Navy access.

“The visit is in pursuit of India’s objective of enhanced engagement with the Gulf region which is in India’s extended neighbourhood,” the external affairs ministry said.

The meet would not only strengthen the trade ties but embolden cooperation for holding political dialogue on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

India and Oman are strategic trade partners with their bilateral trade amounting to $5 billion during 2018-19. The two share cordial ties owing to historical maritime trade cooperation and India’s the close association to Oman’s royal family. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman in February 2018 helped in consolidating these ties.

As per 2018 trade records, India was the second largest importer of crude oil from Oman. Besides, Indians make the second largest expatriate community in Oman, with more than 780,000 Indian citizens residing in the Gulf nation. Jaishankar headed to Oman, after attending the two-day19th Joint Commission Meeting at Tehran from December 22-23, where he discussed matters with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.

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