A meeting of the India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) was held physically in New Delhi on January 14. This was the first high-level official visit from Oman to India since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Omani delegation was led by Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali al Harthy, Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Foreign Ministry, while the Indian delegation was led by Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary – Consular Passport and Visa & Overseas Indian Affairs.
Both 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. Bhattacharya thanked the Omani side for taking excellent care of the large Indian community in Oman during the pandemic. Both sides also expressed happiness that the Air Bubble arrangement between the two countries is functioning well. The Omani side expressed appreciation that India had facilitated food and medical supplies to Oman during the pandemic. India assured assistance to Oman in its requirement of COVID-19 vaccines.
During the IOSCG meeting, the sides reviewed the entire spectrum of India-Oman relationships, including in political, energy, trade, investment, defence, security, space, mining, 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.
They looked forward to trade and investment linkages regaining momentum once normalcy returns after COVID-19. They also discussed intensifying cooperation in the areas of health and food security. Views on recent regional developments and global issues of mutual interest were exchanged.
Dr S Jaishankar, Indian External Affairs Minister, also received the Omani undersecretary on Thursday. Jaishankar congratulated the Omani side on the first anniversary of the reign of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. He reiterated an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to His Majesty the Sultan to visit India. He said he also looked forward to the continuous strengthening of India-Oman strategic partnership in various fields.
On Friday, Harthy visited the Sushma Swaraj Institute for Foreign Service, where headdressed and interacted with the Indian Foreign Service Officer Trainees of the 2020 Batch & two Bhutanese diplomats.