Why in news?

There are reports of continued job cuts in several Gulf countries, including Oman, which has instructed government-owned companies to replace expat workers “as quickly as possible” with Omanis.

Amidst these reports, expat Indian citizens have played a significant role in creating prosperous economies in the Gulf region, the External Affairs Ministry said on 30th April 2020.

Significance of the order

  • There are at least 8,00,000 Indian workers in the kingdom and a part of them are likely to be impacted by the order.
  • The Omani order, when carried out, is expected to force significant part of the expat Indians to return home.
  • In view of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Gulf states and the accompanying regional economic downturn, India is already preparing to evacuate a large number of citizens from the Gulf.
  • Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik had assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the salaries and well-being of the Indian community would be protected as the country dealt with the economic downturn that had resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministry’s view on the order

  • The Gulf countries greatly value their relation with India.
  • They also value the role of the Indian diaspora in the development of the region.
  • The policy of Oman is not specific to India and it does not target Indians.

Strategic partner

  • Oman has been a strategic partner of India, and a large number of local workers are from South Asia.
  • Diplomatic sources said the order was not connected to the ongoing pandemic-related economic downturn in the Gulf.
  • Oman has been part of India’s international consultations on the pandemic.
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