India, Oman ink pact for collaboration in defence sector

New Delhi: India and Oman on Wednesday signed an agreement that would provide a framework for collaboration in new areas of defence engagement including procurement of military equipment.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was firmed up at a meeting of India-Oman joint military cooperation committee (JMCC) in Muscat.

In the talks, the two sides also carried out a comprehensive review of their defence cooperation and explored ways to boost it in line with their shared strategic interests.

The two sides specifically focused on possible collaboration in the defence industrial sector at the meeting. The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane.

It is learnt that the overall situation in West Asia including security concerns arising out of targeting of cargo vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi militants figured in the talks.

“Both sides reviewed and appreciated the robust defence cooperation between India and Oman,” the defence ministry said.

It said the meeting delved into many new areas of cooperation such as training, joint exercise, information sharing, oceanography, ship building and MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) facilities that would build mutual trust and interoperability between militaries of both nations.

“They also exchanged views on regional and global issues of shared interest. Both sides discussed effective and practical initiatives to further boost bilateral defence engagements with focus on defence industries collaboration,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two sides also inked an MoU pertaining to procurement of defence material and equipment which would provide a framework for defence collaboration in new areas.

The MoU was signed over a month after India and Oman unveiled a joint vision document titled ‘A Partnership for the Future

The vision document was adopted during the visit of Oman’s Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik to India in December.

In Muscat, Aramane also held bilateral talks with Omanese Defence Ministry’s Secretary General Mohammed Bin Naseer Bin Ali Al Zaabi.

“During the talks, Giridhar Aramane highlighted the potential of the domestic defence industry with capacity, capability and looked forward to a fruitful partnership with the armed forces of Oman,” the defence ministry said.

It said the Omanese side expressed confidence in the capability of the Indian defence industry.

Aramane also invited the Omanese secretary general and his delegation to visit India to witness the defence industrial capability, especially in aerospace and maritime sectors.

Oman is one of India’s closest defence partners in the Gulf region and defence cooperation has emerged as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two sides, the ministry said.

“The two countries are committed to work under the vision of strategic partnership,” it said.