Minister of State in the ministry of external affairs V. Muraleedharan will on a visit to Oman in the 3rd high-level visit from India to West Asia amidst the pandemic. The last few weeks have seen External affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar visiting Bahrain and Kuwait, followed by the visit of Indian army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane to UAE and Saudi Arabia.
MoS will embark on a visit to Oman on December 16 and 17 and will meet Oman’s foreign and labour minister and the large Indian community members. Oman hosts more than 600,000 Indians.
PM Modi has spoken to Sultan of Oman Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik in April and both Indian and Omani Foreign ministers had a virtual meeting earlier this month.
Amidst the pandemic, India ensured that supply chains for food and other essential items functioned smoothly and facilitated the return of health professionals to Oman. Both countries event have an air bubble arrangement for travel and recently Oman announced that Indians will be exempted from entry visas for visiting Oman for a period of ten days.
The MEA release announcing the visit said, “India and Oman are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations.”
India sees west Asia as part of its extended neighborhood, and the past few years have been increased engagement and high-level visits. The region which hosts a large number of Indians, mostly Blue-collar worker is also vital for India’s energy security in terms of crude oil import.
Increasingly, India is engaging in defense cooperation and connectivity in the region.
The recent normalization of ties of Arab states with Israel under the Abraham accords has been welcomed by India, as it sees many of its allies in the region, once estranged, now coming together.
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