India, Oman review ties, vow to step up trade and investment

 thehindu.com  01/14/2021 21:15:13  2

India and Oman on January 14 reviewed the entire spectrum of their relationship and vowed to regain momentum in trade and investment linkages once normalcy returns after COVID-19.

A meeting of the India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) was held here physically with the Indian delegation led by Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary (CPV&OIA), Ministry of External Affairs, and the Omani delegation headed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al-Harthy, Under Secretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Foreign Ministry.

This was the first high-level official visit from Oman to India since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

India assured assistance to Oman in its requirement for COVID-19 vaccines, the MEA said in a statement.

Indias drugs regulator has approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

Indian and Omani sides expressed satisfaction that despite the COVID-19 pandemic they have kept in close touch and sustained momentum in further consolidation of their strategic relationship, the MEA said.

Secretary (CPV&OIA) thanked the Omani side for taking excellent care of the large Indian community in Oman during the pandemic, it said.

The Omani side expressed appreciation that India had facilitated food and medical supplies to Oman during the pandemic.

Both sides also expressed happiness that the air bubble arrangement between the two countries is functioning well.

During the meeting, both sides reviewed the entire spectrum of India-Oman relationship including in political, energy, trade, investment, defence, security, space, mining, Science & Technology, culture and consular fields.

It was agreed that the two sides will pursue various agreements and MOUs in these areas for a future-oriented relationship, the MEA said.

They looked forward to trade and investment linkages regaining momentum once normalcy returns after COVID-19, it said.

They also discussed intensifying cooperation in the areas of health and food security.

The two sides also exchanged views on recent regional developments as well as global issues of mutual interest, the MEA said.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also received the Omani Under Secretary on Thursday and conveyed congratulations to the Omani side on the first anniversary of the reign of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.

He reiterated the invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Sultan for a visit to India. He also looked forward to the continuous strengthening of India-Oman strategic partnership in various fields.

Mr. Sheikh Khalifa will be paying a visit to Sushma Swaraj Institute for Foreign Service on Friday.

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