Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Building future based on history

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It was yet another historic day in the relations between India and Oman as His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik undertook a state visit to India last week. This is also the first visit by an Omani ruler in 26 years.


His Majesty’s visit comes four months after India hosted the G20 summit, to which the Indian leadership invited the Sultanate of Oman, which is a non-G20 country, to be a special guest at the event.


Oman and India share a longstanding history of friendship and cooperation, built on the foundation of mutual trust and respect and strong people-to-people ties.


The relations between Oman and India are embedded with millennia-old commercial, cultural, religious, and economic linkages owing to geographical proximity and personal ties.


While it is common knowledge that there is a historical as well as continuing presence of Indians in Oman, the Khaliji (Gulf) presence in India is less well-documented but not less impactful.


“A large number of people of Indian origin consider Oman their second home. These people are living examples of our close ties and our friendship," Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked during his talks with the Omani delegation which accompanied His Majesty the Sultan.


Since the time Omanis started navigation activities and reached Indian seaports, there has been a protracted history of interactions between the two countries, which has contributed to a lasting imprint on both cultures.


Thanks to its strategic location in the Arabian Peninsula, Oman was a trading and commercial hub even before the First Century CE, and it is this history as a citadel of trade, especially by sea, that has shaped its culture.


The prime minister stressed that India and Oman have had an unbreakable bond of deep friendship for centuries.


“Our mutual closeness is not limited to geography but is also reflected in our trade spanning thousands of years, our culture, and our common priorities. On the strength of this glorious history, we are building a bright future ahead”, he added in his address.


During His Majesty’s visit, both countries adopted a Joint Vision document titled ‘A Partnership for the Future’ encompassing a shared vision of Oman and India while acknowledging the remarkable synergy between Oman Vision 2040 and India's development objectives under ‘Amrit Kaal’.


The document focuses on building partnerships in a wide range of areas, including maritime cooperation and connectivity, digital payments, space, green energy, tourism, agriculture, food security, and cricket. The cooperation in clean energy will also focus on green hydrogen.


The India-Oman Joint Vision was an outcome of the Indian prime minister’s visit to Oman in 2018.


According to a joint statement issued on the occasion, during their discussions, “the leaders expressed appreciation for recent bilateral interactions, recognising the vast potential for collaboration.”


The shared interest between India and Oman underlines the importance of joint efforts in space exploration, with a specific focus on capacity building, satellite technology, and the practical applications that can benefit both nations.


This cooperative approach signifies a significant step towards mutual growth and advancement in space capabilities for India and Oman, fostering a stronger bond in the exploration and utilisation of outer space.


Of course, the most notable initiative in this regard is the training provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to scientists from multiple countries, including Oman.


As part of India’s Space Diplomacy, initiated in 2019, this programme has empowered professionals from 45 countries, fostering skills in building nanosatellites.


Oman, alongside other nations like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, and Portugal, has actively participated in enhancing its space capabilities.


Partnering with India will allow Oman to leverage India’s experience and benefit from established capabilities in satellite development, launch services, and space applications. It will also help Oman to potentially reduce costs and accelerate its progress in space exploration.


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