India oman have very strong ties in historical,economic,cultural and people to people exchanges, moreover two countries are linked by Arabian sea. Oman has been providing shelter to more than seven lakh Indian nationals working in multiple sectors.
India Oman bilateral relationship started since 1955 is strengthened through high level dignitaries visit,joint commission,bilateral dialogue mechanism and Annual India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) Meetings. In regional forums like Gulf cooperation council, Indian ocean Rim association and Arab league, Oman is important interlocutor for India. India’s permanent membership in UNSC was supported by Oman.
Both sides had signed various bilateral agreements significant ones are MoU on cooperation between CAG and audit institution of Oman, agriculture,combating crime, civil aviation, double taxation avoidance agreement, bilateral investment promotion and protection. In 2014 MoU on standards and measures were signed between both countries.
Bilateral trade between India Oman fall by 28% in 2014-2015 compared to 2013-2014 financial year due to fall in international oil prices. Indian exports include traditional food items, electronics items, textiles and garments, mineral oils and mineral fuels. Oman expors include dates,crude oil,LNG and urea. Negotiations are in place to finalise FTA with GCC.
Oman is second largest GCC investor in India according to a report. Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and Joint Business Council (JBC) are forums for facilitating economic cooperation between India and Oman. India Oman have huge JV in fertiliser and oil refineries company. In the first quarter of 2015 major economic and commercial exchanges have been held in health and SME sector. Many trade promotional seminars was organised like India business seminar, know India seminar and familiarisation seminar on Electronic tourist visa facility for Omani nationals. Under ITEC programme number of slots increased by 200% for Omani nationals.
India is planning to construct under water 1100km gas pipeine an alternative to Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline from Oman for transporting natural gas called south Asian gas enterprise(SAGE). Proposed pipeline would ease transportation from gas producing countries like Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan. Eventhough the idea was intiated in 1985, Modi government had fired the process for its early implementation.
People to people Ties
India is preferred by Omani nationals for pursuing higher studies and medical tourism. Indians living in Oman contribute to significant proportion of remittances coming into the country. Both countries have well established air connectivity. Indian social club in Oman organises cultural events to nuture cultural links between both countries. GOI recognises PIO’s and Indians for their contribution in bolstering bilateral relationship through Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. A MoU on man power has been signed by both sides to sort out labour related issues.
Both sides also have well established defence copperation. India has supported Oman in combating Priacy and protected the country during unrest in Yemen. Intelligence agencies in USA and Europe speculate that India is constructing its first listening post in Persian gulf in Ras al-Hadd, Oman's north-easternmost point. Both sides also conduct annual joint military exercise and biannual joint air force exercise.
Security and stability of this Gulf country is attached importance and crucial to India due its oil resource, strategic location and social links of hosting India’s one of the largest expatriate community.