Oman and India agree to boost economic ties

The nations had fast-tracked negotiations on free trade earlier

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks to Sultan Haitham of Oman before their meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.  AP
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India and Oman agreed to a road map to boost their co-operation in areas including green energy, maritime, digital payment, agriculture and food security during Sultan Haitham's visit to New Delhi on Saturday.

The decisions on co-operation were taken in a meeting between Sultan Haitham and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Indian capital.

Both countries also decided to conclude a comprehensive economic partnership agreement as early as possible to increase their bilateral trade, India's Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said.

The two countries fast-tracked their negotiations on the free trade agreement earlier this month.

``Both leaders gave strong impetus and push to conclude the comprehensive economic partnership agreement as early as possible,’’ Mr Kwatra said in a statement.

Expansion of the partnership is based on Oman’s vision of 2040 – its national development blueprint – and India’s development goal for the next 25 years, he said.

``Today we are adopting a new ‘India-Oman Joint Vision – A Partnership for Future', '' Mr Modi said. ``In this joint vision, concrete action points have been agreed upon on 10 different areas.''

First visit

This is the first state visit of Oman's ruler to India to boost trade, economy and defence ties.

India and Oman are strategic partners, and the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two nations has flourished over the years.

India is among Oman’s top trading partners.

Their bilateral trade doubled to $12.3 billion in 2022-23 from $5.4 billion in 2020-2021.

There are more than 6,000 India-Oman joint ventures in Oman, with the investments surpassing $7.5 billion.

The agreement will help reduce import duties, which will benefit most Indian exports to Oman in petroleum, steel, electronics and textiles, research organisation Global Trade Research Initiative said.

Similarly, Oman's products, particularly in sectors like oil and gas, petrochemicals, and certain types of manufactured goods, will find a more receptive market in India, it said.

Both nations also announced a third tranche of the Oman-India Joint Investment Fund of $300 million to bolster economic ties through direct capital investment in India, Mr Kwatra said.

Oman is home to about 700,000 Indians.

Defence co-operation between the two countries has emerged as a key pillar of their strategic partnership.

Mr Modi and the Sultan also shared their perspectives, concerns and challenges in the continuing developments in the region, particularly the Gaza war, Mr Kwatra said.

Updated: December 16, 2023, 12:44 PM