India, Oman sign MoU on defence cooperation

Muscat, May 22 (IANS) India and Oman have signed an MoU on defence cooperation among others during Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the Gulf country, an official statement said on Sunday.

Parrikar, during the visit, held meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Minister of Royal Office Lt Gen. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nu’amani and held talks with his counterpart Bader Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi.

During the meetings, “all aspects of bilateral defence cooperation including enhanced military to military exchanges were discussed”, the statement said.

Both sides also exchanged views on regional developments of mutual interest.

The other MoUs signed include on between the Royal Oman Police (Coast Guard) and the Indian Coast Guard in the field of marine crime prevention at sea, an MoU between the two governments on maritime issues; and a protocol between Royal Air Force of Oman and Indian Air Force on flight safety information exchange.

The statement said both sides noted that defence cooperation is a key facet of the bilateral strategic partnership.

“It was agreed that the two sides would further expand and consolidate their ongoing bilateral defence cooperation,” it said.

Parrikar was accompanied by a high-level official delegation including Defence Production Scretary Ashok Gupta, R&D Secretary S. Christopher, Army vice chief Lt. Gen. M.M.S. Rai, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is set to be the next Navy chief, and IAF vice chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa.

A delegation of defence industries also accompanied the minister.

The statement added that the defence minister reiterated on the high importance that India attaches to its strategic partnership with Oman.

He also conveyed his appreciation at the continued support rendered by Oman for the Operational Turnaround (OTR) of Indian Navy ships for anti-piracy patrols as well as technical support for landing and overflight of Indian Air Force aircraft.

Parrikar also visited the Military Technology College and the Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum in Muscat.

He also attended a reception at Sultan Qaboos Port to mark the goodwill visit to Oman of INS Delhi, INS Deepak and INS Tarkash.

–IANS

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