India,Oman explore avenues for naval cooperation

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Oman navy chief Rear Admiral Abdullah Bin Khasim Bin Abdullah Al Raisi met Indian Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan here on Monday and discussed ways to foster greater cooperation between the two navies, an official statement said.

Rear Admiral Al Raisi, who arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a four-day trip, and Admiral Dhowan explored “avenues for greater cooperation between the two navies”, it said, noting Oman is geographically India’s closest neighbour among the Arab countries in the strategically vital Persian Gulf region.

“The presence of about five lakh Indians and people to people contact further enhances Oman’s importance to India. India and Oman share historical, cultural linkages as well as maritime trade linkages with dhows visiting each other’s ports for trade and commerce since time immemorial,” it said, adding the structures for defence cooperation flow from an Indo-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (SCG).

An MoU on defence co-operation between the two countries was signed in December 2005.

Ships from India’s Western Fleet are scheduled to visit Oman in end September 15 and Indian Sail Training ship Tarangini will make a port call in Muscat in November 15.

Omani ships also regularly visit Indian ports and are scheduled to participate in International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam in February 2016.

Rear Admiral Al-Raisi will also visit the Western Naval Command headquarters at Mumbai as well as Indian Navy’s premier training institute at Lonavala, where a large number of Omani navy personnel undergo training. He will also visit Southern Naval Command headquarters at Kochi to explore avenues of cooperation in training.

“The visit by chief of Royal Oman Navy will further enhance Navy to Navy cooperation that ranges across the entire spectrum from bilateral exercise Naseem-al-Bahr to exchange of white shipping information and enhanced training cooperation,” the statement added.

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