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India, Oman hold strategic dialogue; discuss trade pact, Red Sea situation

In the ninth India-Oman strategic dialogue, the two sides noted that discussions on signing of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement were progressing and that its early finalisation would benefit both nations.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 16:42 IST

New Delhi: India and Oman have discussed various aspects of their strategic ties and reviewed the regional developments including the security situation in Gaza and the Red Sea at a high-level dialogue in Muscat.

In the ninth India-Oman strategic dialogue, the two sides noted that discussions on signing of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement were progressing and that its early finalisation would benefit both nations.

Deputy National Security Adviser Vikram Misri represented India at the dialogue on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.

The strategic dialogue was held in a frank and constructive manner and both sides held discussions on various issues of regional and bilateral concern, they said.

The two sides discussed the regional security situation resulting from the Gaza conflict, including in the Red Sea, the people said.

There have been mounting global concerns over Houthi militants attacking various cargo vessels in the Red Sea and other strategic waterways in the region apparently in response to Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

On the bilateral front, both sides recalled the successful visit to India of Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tarik in December last.

The Indian side also thanked Oman for their participation and cooperation in making the G20 summit held in New Delhi last year a successful one, the people cited above said.

Misri also called on Gen. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nomani, the minister of royal office of Sultanate of Oman.

Highlighting the historical nature of bilateral ties, both sides in the dialogue noted the positive impact of people-to-people contacts between India and Oman.

India thanked Oman for hosting a large number of Indians, who had contributed positively to the development of the Gulf nation, the people cited above said.

It was agreed that the waters between India and Oman acted as a link between the two countries, they said.

The two sides also agreed that all existing bilateral issues on which agreement had been reached would be closely followed up and new areas for cooperation would be identified.

In this context, discussions were held on strategic, military and security ties besides cooperation in areas of disaster management, oceanography and artificial intelligence.

Both sides reaffirmed the long-standing ties between India and Oman and reiterated their commitment to taking all possible steps to maintain high levels of cooperation.

The two sides also agreed that progress had been achieved on several fronts since the last dialogue held in New Delhi in early 2023 and expressed the hope that momentum gained could be maintained.

The 10th round of the India-Oman strategic dialogue will be held in New Delhi next year.

The ties between India and Oman are on an upswing.

Last month, the two countries inked an agreement that would provide a framework for collaboration in new areas of defence engagement including procurement of military equipment.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was firmed up at a meeting of India-Oman joint military cooperation committee (JMCC) in Muscat.

Oman is one of India's closest defence partners in the Gulf region and defence cooperation has emerged as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two sides.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 16:42 IST)

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