Muscat: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will start a two-day state visit to Oman today, at an invitation of Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed.
On his arrival, Modi will be received at the Royal Airport by Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Saeed, Deputy Prime Minister for Council of Ministers of Oman, and other ministers and senior officials. The Indian embassy in Muscat confirmed to Gulf News that Modi will address the Indian community at a multi-purpose stadium in the Boshar district of Muscat today. More than 25,000 Indians from various walks of life have registered to witness the address.
The Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, the largest of its kind in Oman, can seat approximately 34,000 people and has more than 10,000 parking spaces. On his first-ever visit to Oman, Modi will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with Omani leaders.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said earlier that Modi’s visit would be ‘broad-based’. He added India’s engagement with Palestine, UAE and Oman — countries that Modi is touring on this visit — would focus on strategic domains, encompassing defence and security, trade and investment.
The India-Oman bilateral partnership has been growing stronger. Modi is expected to sign memorandums of understanding with Oman.
Before his departure for Palestine, UAE, and Oman, Modi said: “Oman is a close maritime neighbour with whom we enjoy excellent relations. I will hold talks with Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed and other key leaders. I will also interact with leading business persons of Oman on developing stronger economic and business links with India.”
“The Gulf and West Asian region is a key priority in our external engagement. We enjoy vibrant multi-dimensional ties with these countries.”
He will also address business leaders tomorrow at the India-Oman Business Meet, organised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Oman, in association with embassy of India, Muscat.
During his visit, Modi will meet Sultan Qaboos at the Bait Al Barakah palace at a dinner. The two leaders will review cooperation between the two countries, identify new areas of cooperation and exchange views on the regional situation in South Asia and West Asia.
Modi would be intensifying cooperation in key sectors such as trade and defence in the Sultanate.
According to the MEA, bilateral trade and investment between India and Oman remains resilient. Bilateral trade, which saw a decline during 2014-15 and 2015-16, has resumed its upward trend, with an increase of 3.6 per cent from $3.8 billion (Dh13.94 billion) in 2015-16 to $4 billion in 2016-17, the ministry said.
The GCC accounted for 20 per cent of India’s international trade. The GCC is also the source of 50 per cent of India’s oil imports and 60 to 65 per cent of liquefied natural gas imports.
About 9 million Indians reside in the GCC and send $35 billion in remittances every year, Kumar said.
Speaking to the Economic Times, Oman’s Ambassador to India Hamed Saif Al Rawahi said: “Oman is a dynamic partner of the ‘Make in India’ mission of India. The Indian government invited Omani companies to invest in India and capitalise on the new government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. There are more than 1,500 Indo-Omani joint ventures in Oman itself, valued at $7.5 billion. India has made an investment of $4.5 billion in Oman.”