Antony to visit Oman to boost defence cooperation
New Delhi: To promote military cooperation and further strengthen ties, Defence Minister AK Antony will undertake a two day official visit to Oman from May 17.
During his stay in Muscat, Antony will hold wide-ranging talks with his Oman counterpart Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi on the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Eden and efforts to secure trade between two countries via the sea route.
Defence exports from India will also feature on Antony’s agenda, as Oman is the first Gulf country to procure the assault rifle INSAS, which is manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board.
The indigenously built rifle, used by the Indian Army, was sent to Muscat in March and is currently undergoing trials for the Oman army.
A high-level delegation, including Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, will accompany Antony during his visit.
The Defence Minister will also hold talks with the top leadership of the Sultanate of Oman and meet the Indian community.
“India and Oman have a vibrant military cooperation. In October last year Jaguar fighter jets of the Indian Air Force flew to Oman to participate in the first joint air exercise with the Royal Air Force of Oman,” said a Ministry of Defence statement.
Following the signing of a protocol agreement on military relations between India and Oman in 1972, the last decade has seen an increase of military relations between India and Oman.
Several high level visits are expected to take place between India and Oman. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma will visit that country in June to attract investments.
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