Swaraj in Oman for talks with key Gulf nation


New Delhi: External Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Muscat, Oman to held talks with the oil-rich Gulf nation’s top leaders and review bilateral politics, economic, defense, security. This is Swaraj’s third visit to the Gulf region. She had earlier traveled to Bahrain in September and the United Arab Emirates in November last year, indicating the high importance attached by the new government on India’s relations with the strategic region. During her two-day visit here, Swaraj will hold extensive talks on Wednesday with her Omani counterpart Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah on bilateral, regional and other issues of mutual interest.

Interestingly, the first foreign minister that Swaraj received was Abdullah, who had visited New Delhi in June last year, soon after the BJP-led government assumed office as an emissary of the Omani leadership. The two Foreign Ministers are likely to discuss Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s possible visit to Oman later this year, official sources said.

India and Oman have a very robust relationship based on extensive people-to-people contacts and historical economic and cultural exchanges, they said. There are over seven lakh Indians working in Oman in various sectors. They form the largest expatriate group in Oman. They also repatriate around USD 3 billion annually. Oman is an important trading partner of India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade exceeding USD 5.7 billion in 2013-14.