Recently, India and Oman renewed the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on military cooperation as well as on maritime security.

Important points:

  • The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India and an important speaker at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
  • India is a member of IORA but not a member of GCC and Arab League.
  • India and Oman are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations, which are attributed to historical maritime trade linkages, intimacy of the Royal family with India and the seminal role played by Indian expatriate community in building Oman, which is acknowledged by the Omani Government.
  • Institutional mechanisms like Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and Joint Business Council (JBC) oversee economic cooperation between the two.
  • Key bilateral agreements/MoUs cover cooperation in Defence; peaceful uses of Outer Space; Extradition; Legal and judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters; Agriculture; Civil Aviation; Avoidance of Double Taxation; Maritime issues; etc.
  • In West-Asia, Oman is one of India’s oldest defence partners and an ally in anti-piracy campaigns.
  • India has supplied rifles to Oman. Also, India is considering setting up a defence production unit in Oman.
  • India and Oman conduct regular biennial bilateral exercises between all three services.
  1. Army exercise: Al Najah
  2. Air Force exercise: Eastern Bridge
  3. Naval Exercise: Naseem Al Bahr

Maritime Cooperation:

  • Oman is at the gateway of Strait of Hormuz through which India imports one-fifth of its oil imports.
  • The berth rights given by Oman to Indian vessels is important for the Indian Navy to carry out anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
  • India signed a pact with the country in 2018 to access the Duqm port of Oman.
  • India is working closely with Oman to enhance strategic depth in the region and add heft to its Indo-Pacific vision in the Western and Southern Part of Indian Ocean.
  • India needs its support to counter the growing Chinese foothold in the region.
  • India is concerned with China’s acquisition of strategic assets in the region including setting its base at Port of Doraleh in Djibouti.



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