NEW DELHI – The proposed comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between Oman and India is on a fast-track mode, recent developments and the historic state visit to India by Oman’s leader, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, suggest.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham was in India recently for a three-day visit and this is his first state visit to India since he ascended the throne in 2000. It is also the first visit by an Omani ruler to India since 1997. Observers note that this visit, after a span of over 25 years, marked a significant milestone in the diplomatic relations between the two sides.
Areas of discussion
The finalisation of the CEPA and ways to bolster trade and strategic cooperation were the main areas of discussions during this visit.
Important strategic drive
Meanwhile, in his speech, His Majesty Sultan Haitham also stressed on the importance of finalizing negotiations to conclude the CEPA, which he said, “constitutes an important strategic drive that treasures many benefits and reflects our common vision to expand and consolidate commercial and economic relations in the interests of our two peoples”.
Likely to be replicated
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India had signed a CEPA in February 2022. Insiders noted that the India-UAE agreement is “likely to be replicated” in the case of the trade pact with Oman, which is India’s 29th largest trading partner.
Testimony to commitment
Reports also noted that both His Majesty Sultan Haitham and Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, had expressed satisfaction at the pace of the ongoing negotiations for signing the CEPA, as completion of two rounds of negotiations in less than a month’s time is “a testimony that both the countries are committed to deepen the economic relations further”.
Oman and India determined to launch a bright new era in the history of their ties: HM The Sultan
NEW DELHI – Both Oman and India are determined to launch a bright and new era in the history of the ties between the two friendly nations, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik said in his speech at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, recently.
Both His Majesty Sultan Haitham, who visited India recently, and Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, had held an expanded session of official talks there.
“We stand on the friendly land of India as an embodiment of this historical moment in which we together consolidate relations of friendship and cooperation between our two countries, determined to launch a new bright era in the history of Omani-Indian ties that extend thousands of years,” His Majesty Sultan Haitham said.
“Since ancient times, Oman and India have developed strong bonds of commercial, social, cultural and human interactions. Today, the Indian community residing and working in the Sultanate of Oman plays an important and constructive role in these approaches that benefit the two friendly countries and their peoples.
As we affirm our support for the existing strategic partnership between the Sultanate of Oman and India, we look forward to the future with broader perspectives of cooperation and progress in various political, security, economic and scholarly spheres.
We have instructed members of the Omani government to continue working diligently with their Indian counterparts and accord priority to vital areas of cooperation in the sectors of security, defence, green energy, food security, information technology and the digital economy, as well as innovation and the development of startups and other sectors.
“We also stress the importance of finalizing negotiations to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which constitutes an important strategic drive that treasures many benefits and reflects our common vision to expand and consolidate commercial and economic relations in the interest of our two peoples.
“We have a deep conviction in the policy of good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence and non-interference in the internal affairs of others. We strive to support all peaceful means to settle regional and international differences and conflicts, adhere to the rules of international law and develop a climate of security, peace and justice for all,” His Majesty Sultan Haitham said, adding a “personal appreciation” to the Indian prime minister “for inviting the Sultanate of Oman as a guest to the G20 summit, which you chaired. We express our congratulations to you for the positive outcome of the summit, which you conducted with full success and aptitude”.
Visit after 26 years
In his speech, the Indian prime minister said: “Today witnesses a historic event as the Sultan of Oman pays a state visit to India after 26 years. I welcome you on behalf of the Indian people.”
During the talks, topics of significance to the consolidation of bilateral relations were discussed. The two sides elaborated on joint efforts to open up vistas of close cooperation in various fields. They explored opportunities for investment in available resources in a manner that achieves the common interests of the Omani and Indian peoples.
The talks also dealt with developments taking place in regional and international arenas. The two sides discussed issues of common concern and efforts exerted in this regard.
Oman-India official delegation
The session was attended from the Omani side by His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al Said, deputy prime minister for defence affairs, Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal Al Busaidi, minister of the Diwan of Royal Court, Gen. Sultan Mohammed Al Nu’amani, minister of the Royal Office, Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, foreign minister, Dr Hamad bin Said Al Aufi, head of the Private Office, Abdulsalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi, chairman of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousef, minister of commerce, industry and investment promotion, Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, minister of energy and minerals, Pankaj Khimji, advisor for foreign trade and international cooperation at the ministry of commerce, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Hinai, ambassador-at-large at the foreign ministry and Issa Saleh Al Shibani, ambassador of Oman to India.
Meanwhile, it was attended from the Indian side by Dr S. Jaishankar, external affairs minister, Piyush Goyal, minister of commerce and industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Dr P.K. Mishra, principal secretary to PM, Dr V. Muraleedharan, minister of state for external affairs and parliamentary affairs (head of the Mission of Honour), S. Somanath, secretary, department of space, Vinay Kwatra, foreign secretary, Muktesh K. Pardeshi, secretary (CPV & OIA), Arindam Bagchi, additional secretary (XP), Aseem R. Mahajan, joint secretary (Gulf), Deepak Mittal, joint secretary to PM, Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, joint secretary (XP) – designate, Dr Hiren Joshi, OSD to PM, Amit Narang, ambassador of India to Oman and a number of Indian officials.