Taking a leaf out of this vision of His Majesty the Sultan, the Indian ambassador to the sultanate believes that historical relationship that the two countries enjoy gives them a huge advantage in taking it to the next level in the years to come.
H E Munu Mahawar, who completed one year of his stint in Oman on Monday, spoke candidly about his experience of meeting people from all sections of society, travelling widely in the sultanate and interacting with the Indian diaspora on various occasions, including the just-held
celebrations of India’s Independence Day on August 15.
“I am overwhelmed by the warmth shown by the people of the sultanate, which itself speaks volumes about the depth of our relationship and historical span of the same. I can tell you that the same warmth and affection is reciprocated to the people of Oman when they are in India,”
H E Mahawar said.
According to him, the people-to-people connect is the foundation of the strategic partnership that Oman and India share. “In a way, this makes our job as diplomats easier,” he said.
While Oman has been offering Indian expatriates the comfort of being in their home country, the people of Oman have been choosing India as their most-favoured destination when it comes to travelling for leisure and medical purposes.
New areas of cooperation
While the trade and commerce between Oman and India are ever expanding, H E Mahawar made special reference to cooperation with the sultanate in new sectors such as space, Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence.
India and Oman have signed a memorandum of understanding on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space during the visit of PM Modi to Oman in February 2018.
India’s space agency ISRO on July 22 successfully launched its second lunar mission - Chandrayaan-2.
The spacecraft has completed most of its leg work and is set to enter lunar orbit on Tuesday, leaving a very few operations to be performed before attempting to soft-land the probe on Moon on September 7.
If successful, India will become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface. Only the former Soviet Union, the US and China have been able to do so.
The ambassador asserted that India believes in knowledge sharing with its friends and partners and ‘Oman being a great friend all along, we would like to cooperate with Oman for peaceful uses of outer space in the coming days’.
While talking about the human resource development, H E Mahawar mentioned about the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme - a bilateral assistance programme run by the Government of India.
“Development partnership occupies a paramount place in India’s foreign policy,” he said, referring to vision and mission of the ITEC programme. “His Majesty the Sultan has set a vision to make Oman a knowledge-based economy by 2040,” he said and stated that India would like to partner with Oman in education, training and skills development.
Training or capacity building is one of the major activities under ITEC. The professionals and people from friendly countries are offered unique training courses, both civilian and defence, in different centres of excellence in India which empower them with not just professional skills, but prepare them for an increasingly globalised world.
“In the 2019-20 session, Oman was offered 125 sponsored slots under which officials in the government, public and private sectors, universities, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, etc. of the sultanate were eligible to apply.
“It is part of development cooperation which is based on two main pillars, first, development cooperation incorporating the idea of partnership, i.e. working for mutual benefit, and secondly, development cooperation based on priorities determined by the partner.”
Partnership for peace
When asked about cooperation in the area of defence and security, H E Mahawar said that the two countries seamlessly converge on their aim to promote peace across the globe.
“India believes in the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (a Sanskrit phrase, which means ‘the world is one family’) and we find Oman a great partner in making world really a ‘one family’,” he said.
India is involved in maritime security and anti-piracy operations in the vicinity, the Indian ambassador said, pointing out that Oman has been the main source of logistics support for the Indian vessels guarding the waters around it.
He accorded high praises to Oman which has been actively involved in resolving issues troubling the region. “Middle East is India’s maritime neighbour and we have a huge number of Indians residing in the region. It is in our best interest to be a partner in restoring peace in the region. We find in Oman a partner highly committed to resolving disputes between countries for the sake of peace,” H E Mahawar said.