Recently the Sultanate of Oman (Oman) announced to establish Friendship association with India. This will the first of such initiative in West Asian region. It was announced during the foreign ministers bilateral discussion. Oman-India bilateral discussion was held via video conference on the backdrop of recent trip by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar External Affairs Minister of India to Bahrain and United Arab Emirates. During the bilateral discussion, the countries reviewed their economic cooperation, consular issue, capacity building and training programmes.
India-Oman Friendship Association
The Friendship association will aim to provide a platform to promote matters of mutual interest, understanding between the business and social communities of the countries.
In 2018, Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Oman and enhanced the cooperation bilateral in defence, energy, food security, trade and investment and regional issues.
In December 2019, India & Oman signed the Maritime Transport Agreement. The Agreement was first of its kind that India signed with a Gulf country. The Agreement enabled India to expand its footprints in Southern Indian Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, East Africa and Persian Gulf. This was a part of India’s Indo-Pacific Vision. The Indian Navy has been provided access to the Duqm Port (Al Duqm Port & Drydock). The Duqm port if the largest sea port located in the Indian Ocean region. India is planning to develop several projects in Oman. This includes a $1.2 billion project to set up the largest Sebacic Acid plant (which is the largest in Middle-East). Also, an integrated tourism complex called “Little India” is to be constructed under $78 million.
Importance of Oman
The country is an ideal place for international business as it has industrial hubs established all along the 1,700 km of sea coast on the Indian Ocean. Oman holds four industrial free zones and four sea ports facing the Indian Ocean. The Industrial Free Zones of Oman offer 3 decades (30 years) of corporate tax exemption, no restrictions on repatriation of profits, no income tax, usufruct agreements, 5 decades (50 years) of renewability, currency exchange freedom and stable currency rate.
Indian and Oman bilateral trade stood at $4.5 billion. India is the Oman’s second largest destination for its non-oil exports and fourth largest source for imports.
India’s Project in Oman
India has been considering the construction of a 1,100-kilometer-long underwater natural gas pipeline from Oman. The Pipeline Called the South Asia Gas Enterprise (SAGE), it will act as an alternative to the Iran–Pakistan–India pipeline. Oman-India Friendship Association Oman-India Friendship Association