Modi will begin his Middle East tour from Palestine, from where he will depart late on February 10 for the UAE. After a busy day in the UAE, packed with programmes on February 11, Modi will arrive in Muscat in the evening.
In a media briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday, MEA stated that PM Modi will travel to Oman from Dubai on February 11, where he will be welcomed with a ceremonial reception at the airport. “He will straight go in for a big community event (at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher). He is travelling to Oman for the first time. Oman is a very important strategic partner of ours. Our prime ministers have been visiting Oman on a regular basis,” stated MEA.
On February 12, Modi will meet Omani CEOs and visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the afternoon.
The MEA stated that Oman is located at a very important geo-strategic place. “Oman is practically our next-door neighbour. We reach Oman earlier than we reach Kerala. We have done a lot in Oman in the past several years. Our defence cooperation is one-of-a-kind in the entire Gulf. With Oman we conduct all three military exercises i.e. army, navy and air force.”
MEA said that Modi’s visit is being undertaken as part of a larger exercise to fulfil the government’s agenda. “Our effort during these visits is to broad base engagement with these countries towards more strategic sphere both in trade and investment and defence and security.”
According to MEA, the six GCC countries account for almost 20 per cent of trade, making them the largest trading regional block for India i.e. about US$110bn of trade.
The Indian diaspora in the GCC is now 9mn, with annual remittance at US$35bn.