Indian Navy will now be able to use the facilities at Duqm port in Oman

The Council was visiting to follow up on PM Modi's February trip to Muscat

India and Oman are exploring greater cooperation in the areas of maritime domain, energy security and the food sector as the two old partners seek to expand their partnership.

These were some of the key sectors on the agenda for the recent visit of the Oman India Joint Business Council to India.

A group of about 30 young business leaders from Oman, who are part of the Oman India Joint Business Council, also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They shared their perspectives on the long shared history and maritime links between the two countries. The Council was visiting to follow up on PM Modi's February trip to Muscat.

During the interaction, the prime minister highlighted the scope for cooperation in Energy Security and Food Security between the two countries. He also conveyed his greetings to the Sultan of Oman, and greetings on the occasion of the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramzan.

The Indian Navy will now be able to use the facilities at Duqm port in Oman following the signing of a pact between the two countries, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, that will give India a foothold in its extended neighbourhood.

"Oman is currently developing Duqm port along with a special economic zone as a regional economic hub. India has shown interest in participating in the Duqm port complex. This will give India greater access to West Asia where it has stepped up strategic and economic engagements,” Oman’s ambassador to India, Hamed Saif Al-Rawahi, had told ET ahead of PM Modi’s visit.

“There are the booming markets of the Indian subcontinent and East Africa that also fall within Duqm’s convenient reach. Most of the ports on the west coast of India and east coast of Africa suffer perennial congestion problems, thereby opening up opportunities for Duqm as a transshipment centre catering to these markets,” he had said.

Oman is India’s oldest defence partner in West Asia.

India's main exports to Oman are mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; articles of iron or steel; electrical machinery and equipment, textiles and garments, chemicals, tea, coffee, spices, cereals and meat products and seafood.

The main imports from Oman include fertilisers; mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes; aluminium and articles thereof; organic chemicals; salt; sulphur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement.

Investment flows, both ways, have also been robust, as reflected in numerous joint ventures (JVs), established both in India and Oman with estimated total investment of around US$ 7.5 billion.

Indian companies have invested in Oman in sectors like iron and steel, cement, fertilisers, textile, cables, chemicals, automotive, etc. especially in Sohar and Salalah. Oman India Fertilizer Company in Sur is a USD 969 million India-Oman joint venture in Oman between IFFCO and KRIBHCO of India and Oman Oil Company (OOC) for manufacturing of fertilisers.

Major Indian investments in Sohar include Larsen & Toubro Modular Fabrication Yard L.L.C, Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering L.L.C, Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel L.L.C, Indsil Ferrochrome, Metkore Alloys & Industries. In Salalah, Indian investments are in manufacturing projects like TVS Chennai’s Dunes Oman LLC (automotive), GC Textile Corporation & Division (textile), Oswal Group’s Saltic FZCO (Chemicals), Hind Aluminium (Cables), Kailash Group’s guar processing unit, Indo-Oman Apparel, Nagarjuna Fertilizer plant etc. In Duqm Special Economic Zone also, there is a significant Indian presence, including Sebacic Oman a US$ 1.2 billion project for the largest Sebacic acid plant in Middle-East.

India-Oman Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF), a JV between State Bank of India and State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman, a special purpose vehicle to invest in India, has been operational and the initial corpus of US$ 100 million has been fully utilised. OIJIF has raised another $ 220 million for the second tranche which is ready for investments.