Visit of the Minister of State for External Affairs to Oman aims at bolstering economic and investment partnership

India and Oman cheered their friendship as the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan visited Oman to discuss the regional and international issues of common concern with the ministers of Oman’s cabinet. This is his first visit to Oman as MoS.

During his two-day visit which began on December 16, he met with the Foreign Minister of Oman, Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al- Busaidi and discussed the scope of bolstering partnerships in the areas of economic and investment.

Discussions were also held on the importance of cooperation and information exchange to enhance cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. The MoS later informed about the meeting on twitter.

He wrote, “Called on HE @badralbusaidi FM of Oman. Had an excellent discussion on our bilateral relations including cooperation in the fight against #COVID-19. Appreciate the productive exchange on regional & international devpts.”

The MoS also expressed his gratitude for the government of Oman to take care of Indian community during the COVID-19. He wrote, “Thanked HE @badralbusaidi and the Omani government for the support extended to Indian community in Oman during the difficult period of #pandemic.”

On the first day of his visit, he also met with the Labour Minister of Oman, Prof Mahad bin Said bin Ali Baawain, and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation on workers’ issues, IT infrastructure on safe and legal migration, skilling and exchange of workers between both countries.

“Had a good meeting with Oman’s Labour Min. HE @mahadbaawain. Thanked him for taking good care of Indian community esp during Covid. Discussed strengthening cooperation on workers issues, IT infra on safe & legal migration and skilling,” he wrote on twitter.

V Muraleedharan also interacted with a broad cross-section of the Indian community and the newly formed Oman-India Friendship Association and discussed ideas to stimulate the exchange of business, education and culture between the countries.”

“Glad to interact with the newly established Oman India Friendship Association,” he wrote on twitter.

The visit by the MoS focuses mainly on issues related to the Indian community in Oman which is more than 600,000 Indians in Oman.

India and Oman have been close partners in their fight against COVID-19. India also ensured that supply chains for food and other essential items functioned smoothly and facilitated return of health professionals to Oman.

The Vande Bharat Mission has been a success in Oman which saw an orderly repatriation of Indians from Oman. Flights are operational between both countries under an air bubble arrangement.

In fact, Oman Air will operate around seven flights between Muscat and India in the coming days.

“Oman Air will operate 7 flights between Muscat – Bengaluru – Muscat on 19 and 24 December 2020, and on 2, 7, 16, 21 and 30 January 2021,” Oman Air said in a statement.

Apart from that, Oman has recently announced that Indians will be exempted from entry visas for visiting Oman for a period of ten days.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations. The relations have seen an upswing this year despite COVID-19.

India has been in touch with Oman and has maintained close high-level contacts during the pandemic. In April this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on telephone with Sultan of Oman, Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik. Similarly, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a virtual meeting with Foreign Minister of Oman on December 2.

India-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was also held virtually in October this year with participation at Ministerial level from Ministries of Commerce from both countries.