INDIA: Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman (CRNO) Rear Admiral Saif Bin Nasser Bin Mohsin Al Rahbi, who is on a five-day goodwill visit to India, called on Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar at Naval headquarters in Delhi on Monday.
Oman navy chief visits India
Visiting Oman Navy chief held discussions with his Indian counterpart to explore avenues to further enhance cooperation between the Navies.
The Navy in a statement said that the visit of the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman aims to consolidate bilateral relations with the Indian Navy, and also to explore new avenues for defence cooperation with India.
“The first visit of the incumbent CRNO to India reverberates the growing cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman, which includes operational interactions, training, and exchange of subject matter experts. Both Navies have been participating in the biennial maritime exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ since 1993.”
“This exercise was last held in 2020 off the coast of Goa, and the next one is scheduled for later this year. In December 2021, INS Sudarshini visited Muscat and embarked RNO Sea Riders for sea experience,” the Navy added.
Discussions between the Indian side and CRNO, who is also the Chairman of Oman’s Maritime Security Committee, will centre on training and procurement of naval equipment from India.
Mohammed Bin Nasser Bin Ali Al Zaabi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defence in Oman, met with Indian Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar on January 31 for the 11th India–Oman Joint Military Cooperation Committee Meeting (JMCC) on bilateral defence cooperation. Zaabi also met with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as leaders of India’s defence industry.
India and Oman have strong defence ties, with all three services conducting bilateral exchanges and exercises with Oman’s services.
The Indian Navy receives operational support from Oman for anti-piracy missions in the Arabian Sea. India has also gained access to Oman’s Duqm port, bolstering India’s capability and maritime strategy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), particularly in light of China’s aggressive advance in the region.
Rahbi will meet with all of the service chiefs, members of the National Security Council, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, and senior officers from the armed forces during his visit to Delhi. He will also visit operational facilities, shipbuilding, and repair facilities in Mumbai, as well as the Western Naval Command, which is in charge of ship deployment in the Gulf.
The India-Oman Navy to Navy Staff Talks will be the main focus of Rabbi’s visit. He will also pay a visit to the Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram (Haryana).
The IFC-IOR has relationships with over 50 countries and multinational/maritime security organisations.
It is home to International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from ten partner countries: Australia, France, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It is expected that more ILOs will join in the near future.
Both countries have an existing White Shipping Exchange Agreement. Last September, then-Indian Navy Chief Karambir Singh visited Oman. The last visit by the Oman Navy Chief to India was in September of 2017.
In addition, the west Asian country provides critical operational support to Indian naval deployments in the Arabian Sea for anti-piracy missions, and it actively participates in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
There are more high-level engagements between Indian and Omani military leaders. The chief of Oman’s air force will also visit India soon, while air exercises between the two countries will take place later this month in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). Over 150 Oman personnel will participate in the annual bilateral air exercise this year.
Oman is the only Gulf country with which all three services of the Indian armed forces conduct regular bilateral exercises and staff talks. Oman is India’s closest Gulf region defence partner, and defence exchanges are part of a framework MOU that was renewed in 2021.
Sri Lankan Army delegation visits Mumbai
In the meantime, a Sri Lankan Army delegation visited Mumbai to promote cultural harmony between the two countries by displaying ancient Indian archaeological monuments. On Monday, the delegation visited various points of interest in Mumbai, including the Gateway of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (museum) in South Mumbai.