New Delhi: India is set to give a major boost to defence and strategic ties with governments and regimes in the Gulf.
Rear Admiral Saif Bin Nassir Bin Mohsin Al Rahbi, Commander Royal Navy of Oman, is on a crucial visit to India and held important discussions with top military and civil officials, including Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla and Chief of Army Staff, General M M Naravane. Both sides have discussed ways to enhance the bilateral defence cooperation, officials say.
"… Both referred to the long history of India-Oman maritime cooperation. Discussed enhancing bilateral defence cooperation and maritime security, guided by PM (Narendra Modi's) vision of SAGAR," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
India-Oman's defence cooperation has emerged as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries. There has been a regular exchange of visits by Defence Ministers of both sides. There have been reciprocal visits to India by all three Omani service commanders and the Secretary-General of Defence. The Defence Ministries of both countries review their relations annually under the aegis of Joint Military Cooperation Committee meeting.
"The visit [of CRNO] aims to consolidate bilateral relations and explore avenues for defence cooperation," the Navy said.
The visiting dignitary held discussions with his counterpart Admiral R. Harikumar to explore avenues to further enhance cooperation between the Navies. He is also scheduled to visit the Navy's Western Naval Command in Mumbai, where he would visit ships at the Naval Dockyard. Both Navies have been participating in the biennial maritime exercise 'Naseem Al Bahr' since 1993. This exercise was last conducted in 2020 off Goa, and the next edition is scheduled later this year.
The Rear Admiral Saif Bin Nasser Al Rahbi also called on Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari during his visit. "Contemporary issues of mutual interest and ways to enhance defence cooperation were discussed by the two Chiefs," the Indian Air Force said.
Commander Royal Navy of Oman (CRNO) Rear Admiral Saif Al Rahbi was earlier received by Admiral R H Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff. Both officers held discussions to explore avenues to further enhance cooperation between the two Navies.
The visit comes close on the heels of the visit, early this month, by Secretary-General, Ministry of Defence of Oman Mohammed Nasser Al Zaabi for the Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMMC) meeting.