New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with her Omani counterpart Yusuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah here on Tuesday and discussed ways to further consolidate the strong bilateral relations and enhance project exports from India.
Signalling a desire for continued engagement at high levels between the two countries, the Omani leader`s visit is the first by any foreign dignitary to India after the Narendra Modi-led dispensation came to power.
During the meeting, the two Foreign Ministers took stock of various aspects of bilateral relations including political, economic, defence, security and people-to-people linkages and agreed to further strengthen them, official sources said.
The visiting dignitary congratulated Swaraj on her assumption of charge and invited her to visit Oman at an early date to which she has agreed to. Dates would be decided through diplomatic channels, officials said.
The prospect of enhancing project exports from India to Oman was also discussed.
"During 2013, Indian companies have bagged contracts worth USD 1.25 billion in Oman. Both the Ministers felt that this trend should be continued. The two Ministers agreed to convene the India-Oman Joint Commission...Later during the year so as to provide further impetus to the growing economic and commercial engagement," officials said.
Oman is an important trading partner of India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade exceeding USD 5.70 billion in 2013-14. There are over 50 Indo-Oman joint ventures in Oman.
India and Oman are also engaged in defence cooperation with institutionalised naval exercise `Sea Breeze and Naseem-Al-Bahr` and Air Exercise `Eastern Bridge and Al Jisr Al Sharqi`.
Oman and India are also cooperating in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Of the total population of Oman of 4 million, expatriates constitute 1.77 million and Indians with 700,000 are the largest expatriate community.
Welfare of the large Indian community in Oman was also discussed, the officials added.