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India – Oman Bilateral Relationship


India and Oman will sign a trade deal in the coming months, two Indian government officials said, as New Delhi seeks to expand its ties in the Middle East, where rising tensions are putting major shipping routes at risk.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India-Oman Trade Deal Highlights
  2. India-Oman Bilateral Relationship

India-Oman Trade Deal Highlights:

  • Upcoming Trade Deal: India and Oman are set to sign a trade deal in the coming months to strengthen ties in the Middle East.
  • Key Trade Terms: Oman will waive duties on Indian exports totaling $3 billion annually, covering various sectors including agriculture, gems and jewelry, automobiles, and medical devices.
  • Reciprocal Concessions: India will reciprocate by reducing duties on select petrochemicals, aluminum, and copper from Oman, while also imposing import caps on these goods.
  • Pending Approval: The trade deal awaits approval from the winning government of India’s ongoing general elections, with results expected on June 4.
  • Shift in Strategy: India’s focus has shifted from broader agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to bilateral accords with individual GCC member states like Oman and the UAE.
  • Strategic Significance: India places importance on its relationship with Oman due to its geographical location as a gateway to the crucial Strait of Hormuz, facilitating global oil shipments between Oman and Iran.

India-Oman Bilateral Relationship:

  • Strategic Partnership: Oman is a key strategic partner for India, engaging closely in various international forums such as the GCC, Arab League, and IORA.
  • Historical and Cultural Ties: The relationship between India and Oman is deeply rooted in shared geography, history, and culture, fostering warm and friendly relations.
  • Diplomatic Relations: Established in 1955, the diplomatic ties were elevated to a Strategic Partnership in 2008, signifying their mutual commitment.
  • High-Level Visits: Both countries frequently exchange visits at the highest levels, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman in February 2018 being a notable example.
Economic & Commercial Relations:
  • Mutual Priority: Strengthening economic and commercial ties is a top priority for both India and Oman.
  • Institutional Mechanism: Economic cooperation is facilitated through the Indo-Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).
  • Trade Figures: Bilateral trade for 2021-2022 amounted to US$ 9.9 billion.
  • Major Exports from India: Includes mineral fuels, textiles, machinery, chemicals, and agricultural products.
  • Major Imports to India: Comprise urea, LNG, polypropylene, lubricating oil, and dates, among others.
  • Joint Investment Fund: The Oman-India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a 50-50 Joint Venture between State Bank of India and the erstwhile State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, promotes investment cooperation.
  • Indian Investments in Oman: Indian firms have made substantial investments in sectors like iron and steel, cement, textiles, automotive, and more.
Indian Community in Oman:
  • Population: As of 2023, Oman hosts approximately 900,000 Indian residents.
  • Recognition of Religious Freedom: Oman’s Basic Law recognizes the right to practice various forms of worship.
  • Hindu Community Facilities: The Hindu merchant community in Oman has access to two temples, one of which is over a century old, as well as dedicated cremation grounds.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024