India is increasing its presence with significant interest in Oman by creating a footprint in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Eastern Africa and this has given Delhi strategic depth in the region.
Oman’s Ambassador to India Sheikh Hamad Bin Saif Al Rawahi said: “Oman’s seaports and Industrial hubs established along its 1700 kilometres of its sea coast on the Indian Ocean makes it one of the most ideal areas for international businesses to make a home. The Sultanate of Oman offers 4 seaports and an equal number of industrial free zones all facing the Indian Ocean and Indian private and public sectors are increasingly increasing their footfall in the country.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Sultanate of Oman in 2018 initiated a new energy in bilateral relations with enhanced cooperation in trade and investment, energy, defence, security, food security and regional issues, according to Al Rawahi.
“The Industrial Zones at Oman’s Duqm offer 30 years corporate tax exemption, 0% customs duty, 100% foreign ownership, usufruct agreements, 50 years renewable, no restrictions on repatriation of profits, no income tax, currency exchange freedom and a stable currency rate. These seaports are supported with airports and warehousing facilities for the benefit of the entrepreneurs,” said the Ambassador.
Port of Duqm SEZ, which is earmarked to be the Indian Oceans largest deep sea port where an Indo-Oman Joint Venture, Sebacic Oman is undertaking a $1.2 billion project for setting up the largest Sebacic acid plant in Middle-East. A ‘Little India’ integrated tourism complex project in Duqm, worth $748 million, has been signed between the two countries.
“Oman is an important regional player, despite being part of the GCC it has for long maintained an independent foreign policy and has been able to successfully project itself as a mediator in regional disputes. Under the dynamic leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qabioos Bin Sad Al Said, Muscat was instrumental in facilitating negotiations between the US and Iran during the Obama administration which eventually led to the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1. Oman’s ability to mediate dispute among the Arab Gulf Countries had come to the fore during the diplomatic row between the Qatar and others in 2014 and its absence in 2017 had said to have complicated the matters. In the past, Muscat has played the mediator between Iran and Arab Gulf countries as it maintains with Iran has kept the diplomatic channels open,” said the Ambassador.
Between Oman and India investment flows both ways have increased and have been robust, as reflected in numerous joint ventures, established both in India and Oman with estimated total investment of around $7.5 billion. There are over 3200 Indian enterprises and establishments in Oman and 400 flights a week between the two countries offering innumerable opportunities in a congenial environment this is reflected with the number of Indians living in Oman.