India’s Strategic Focus on Duqm Port

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to host Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik later this month, with a primary focus on strengthening India’s presence at the strategically located Duqm Port in Oman. This visit marks Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s first trip to India since assuming the role following the demise of his predecessor, Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

Duqm Port Infrastructure Projects

Oman is scheduled to inaugurate two key infrastructure projects at the Duqm Port complex before the Sultan’s India visit. Discussions will prioritize facilities for India at the port, where the Indian Navy has been granted access, enhancing India’s maritime strategy in the Indian Ocean Region.

Key Maritime Role of Duqm Port

Duqm Port’s location overlooking the Gulf of Oman, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea positions it as a crucial asset for India’s maritime strategy. It provides India with access to the Red Sea via the Gulf of Aden, aligning with India’s efforts to maintain a strategic presence in the western Indian Ocean Region.

Oman-India Defence Cooperation

Defence cooperation between Oman and India has evolved as a key element of their strategic partnership. Oman holds the status of being India’s oldest strategic and defence partner in the Gulf region. Defence exchanges, guided by a framework MoU renewed in 2021, underscore the mutual commitment to security interests.

In 2021, the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman signed an MoU on the exchange of white shipping information, contributing to enhanced maritime safety and security. This collaboration involves sharing data through the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region and the Muscat-headquartered MSC.

Bilateral Naval Exercises

The naval partnership between India and Oman extends to regular bilateral exercises, including the biennial maritime exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr.’ Oman actively participates in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, reflecting the depth of cooperation between the two nations. Oman provides crucial operational support to Indian naval deployments in the Arabian Sea.

Economic Opportunities

Oman has invited India to invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Sohar and Salalah. This reflects Oman’s eagerness to strengthen economic ties with India and provides potential opportunities for Indian businesses.



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