India and Oman Trade Relations
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The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner in the Gulf and an important interlocutor in the bilateral, AGCC and OIC contexts. Oman also accords a high priority to its ties with India. India and Oman are linked by geography, history and culture. Both countries enjoy warm and cordial relations, which can be ascribed to historical maritime trade linkages, intimacy of the royal family with India and the seminal role of the Indian expatriate community in the building of Oman, which is acknowledged by the Omani Government.

Recent Bilateral Visits:

From India:

  • • Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh - November 2008
  • • Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Shri Vayalar Ravi- June 2009
  • • Former President of India Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam November 2009
  • • Minister for New & Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah - January, 2010
  • • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor - February, 2010
  • • Minister of Defence Shri A K. Antony - May 2010
  • • Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Anand Sharma, - September 2010
  • • Minister of State for Corporate and Minority Affairs Shri Salman Khurshid -November 2010
  • • Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia – December 2010
  • • Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed – June 2011
  • • National Security Adviser, Shri Shiv Shankar Menon- March 3-5, 2012
  • • Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri E. Ahamed- January 2012, November 7-8, 2012, and 25-27.3.2013
  • • Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Shri Vayalar Ravi-March 6-8, 2012 and November 13, 2012

From Oman:

  • • Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers of Oman Sayyid Fahd bin Mehmoud Al Said - December 2007.
  • • Minister of Tourism of Oman Dr. Rajiha bint Abdul Ameer bin Ali - April 2008
  • • Minister of Oil & Gas Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhi -May 2009.
  • • Minister of Commerce & Industry Maqbool Ali Sultan - September, 2009
  • • Chairman of the State Council Yahya Bin Mahfoudh Al Mantheri - December 2009
  • • Minister of National Economy and Deputy Chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki - July 2010
  • • Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah - October 2010
  • • Minister of Commerce & Industry Maqbool Ali Sultan – January 2011
  • • Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs Sayyid Badr bin Saud al Busaidi- December 2011
  • • Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries Dr. Fuad bin Ja’afar bin Mohammed al Sajwani – March 2012
  • • Chairman of Tender Board of Oman Dr. Rasheed bin Al Safi bin Khamis Al Huraibi – February 2012
  • • Chairman of the State Financial and Administrative Audit Institution (SFAI) Sheikh Nasser bin Hilal al Mawali – May 2012
  • • Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah –November 2, 2012.

Some prominent existing bilateral agreements are: MoUs on Combating Crime, Cooperation in Agriculture, Civil Aviation, Cooperation between the State Audit Institution of Oman and the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Avoidance of Double Taxation, Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection, Treaty of Extradition, MoU on Manpower, MoU on Joint Investment Fund and MoU on Cultural Cooperation, etc.

India awaits the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said to receive the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.

During the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Muscat from 8-9 November 2008, it was agreed that the historical bilateral ties should be transformed into a strategic partnership. Pursuant to the decision, in December 2010, the Higher Committee on Economic Cooperation, led by Mohammed bin Al Zubair, Adviser to HM the Sultan for Economic Planning and Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission signed its report which identifies nine areas of cooperation i.e. agriculture, health care, infrastructure, tourism, chemicals & fertilizers, education, oil & gas, power and mining.

Annual Strategic Consultative Group Meetings were started at the Secretary -level in 2003 to provide a forum for open and frank exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues. The 8th meeting of Indo-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) was held in New Delhi on September 19, 2011. The 9th meeting of IOSCG was held in Muscat on December 2, 2012.

Under the ITEC programme, during the year 2012-13 GOI provided 125 slots for Omani nationals to avail of training facilities in diverse areas.

Bilateral Trade and Economy

Some important facts are as follows:

  • • India ranked fourth largest source of imports into Oman after Japan, United States and Saudi Arabia in year 2012.
  • • India ranked the largest destination, followed by the UAE, Japan, China and the United States for Omani non-oil exports during 2012. Non-oil Omani exports to India during the year 2012 registered a growth of 48.1% to reach RO 611.6 mn. against the figure of RO 413.1 mn. during the previous year.
  • • Alpen Capital Investment Bank’s report of May 2012, places Oman as the second biggest GCC investor in India and records that Oman's cumulative FDI has grown from $ 24 million in 2005 to $ 340 million as of January 2012.
  • • Alpen Capital Investment Bank’s report of May 2012, places Oman as the second biggest GCC investor in India and records that Oman's cumulative FDI has grown from $ 24 million in 2005 to $ 340 million as of January 2012.
  • • Balance of trade is in India’s favour due to increase in export of mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation
  • • Major items of Indian exports are mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, textiles and garments, machinery and equipment, electrical and electronic items, chemicals, iron and steel products in addition to traditional items like tea, coffee, spices, rice and meat products and seafood.
  • • Major Omani export commodities are urea, LNG (through spot purchase), polypropylene, lubricating oil, dates and chromite ore.
  • • Oman Container Lines cargo shipping company launched from July 2012 a direct cargo ‘India Express’ shipping service between Nhava Sheva port in India and Salalah port in Oman.

Bilateral Trade (Source: DGFT): figures in US$ million


S.No.

Year

2008-2009

2009-2010

2010-2011

2011-2012

2012-2013

1.

EXPORT

779.04

1,032.93

1,086.48

1,322.13

2,599.16

2.

%Growth

 

32.59

5.18

21.69

96.59

3.

India's Total Export

185,295.36

178,751.43

251,136.19

305,963.92

300,274.12

4.

%Growth

 

-3.53

40.49

21.83

-1.86

5.

%Share

0.42

0.58

0.43

0.43

0.87

6.

IMPORT

1,205.46

3,499.89

4,002.07

3,329.31

1,948.53

7.

%Growth

 

190.34

14.35

-16.81

-41.47

8.

India's Total Import

303,696.31

288,372.88

369,769.13

489,319.49

491,945.05

9.

%Growth

 

-5.05

28.23

32.33

0.54

10.

%Share

0.40

1.21

1.08

0.68

0.40

11.

TOTAL TRADE

1,984.50

4,532.82

5,088.55

4,651.45

4,547.68

12.

%Growth

 

128.41

12.26

-8.59

-2.23

13.

India's Total Trade

488,991.67

467,124.31

620,905.32

795,283.41

792,219.17

14.

%Growth

 

-4.47

32.92

28.08

-0.39

15.

%Share

0.41

0.97

0.82

0.58

0.57

16.

TRADE BALANCE

 

 

 

 

650.63

17.

India's Trade Balance

-118,400.95

-109,621.45

-118,632.94

-183,355.57

-191,670.93


* During the five year period from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the India-Oman bilateral trade has increased by 129%.

Different institutional mechanisms like Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and Joint Business Council (JBC) have been set up to oversee economic cooperation between India and Oman. The 6th Session of JCM was held in Muscat on 5th September 2010. On the sidelines of the JCM, the 7th session of JBC was also organized on 5th September 2010 in Muscat. The next sessions of the JCM and JBC are proposed in India dates for which are being worked out. CII is the partner institution from India for India-GCC Industrial Forum, the 3rd edition of which was held in Mumbai on May 29-30, 2007. An India-GCC framework agreement on trade is in place and negotiations are on for an FTA.

India-Oman Joint Ventures:

  • • The US$ 969 million, Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO), India’s largest Joint Venture abroad, started in August 2002 at Sur, Oman, with formal inauguration on January 28, 2006. IFFCO and KRIBHCO are equal partners in the venture with Oman Oil Company, which is the Omani Government’s investment arm for projects. Under a long term buy back agreement, India imports the entire production of 1.6 MTs of granulated urea and 0.255 MTs of ammonia from Sur plant. An agreement for revised price for supply of gas for the plant was signed during July 2012.
  • • Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL), a company promoted by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Oman Oil Company Limited (OOCL), has set up a 6 MMTPA grassroots refinery at Bina in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh along with crude supply system. BORL- a US $ 2.4 billion project was inaugurated in May 2011.
  • • Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.(JSPL) acquired the Oman-based Shadeed Iron & Steel Co LLC for $ 464 million from Abu Dhabi’s Al Gaith Holding PJSC and is at present operating 1.5 MTPA gas based hot briquetted iron plant at Sohar Industrial port area of Oman. Jindal is putting up a smelter in Sohar.
  • • L&T have established four mega joint ventures: L&T Oman LLC, L&T Electromac LLC, L&T Modular Fabrication Yard LLC and L&T Heavy Engineering LLC with the Zubair Group.
  • • In July 2010, final documents relating to India-Oman Joint Investment Fund have been signed in New Delhi. State General Reserve Fund from Oman and State Bank of India from India are the operating parties of the Fund. The Fund has started its operations, with initial seed capital of US$ 100, through a Mumbai headquartered Management Company. The Fund is operational since 2011 and has commenced disbursals to projects during 2012.
  • • There is prominent Indian presence in various sectors like oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, IT & telecom, power & water, construction, real estate & consultancy, healthcare, warehousing & logistics, railway sector and steel etc. Omani Companies in India are present in diverse areas like oil & gas, manufacturing, IT & telecom, hospitality, healthcare and financial services etc.
  • • Indian financial institutions in Oman are Bank of Baroda since 1975, State Bank of India since 2004, New India Assurance Company, and LIC. ICICI Bank and HDFC bank have representative offices in Oman.
  • • Indian companies have strengthened their presence in Oman with securing of prestigious contracts.

New investment/joint ventures and other major Commercial activities (since2012):

  • • On January 14, 2012, former President Dr. Kalam inaugurated the 'Centre of Excellence' set up jointly by the Anna University and Bahwan CyberTek of Oman in the university campus in Chennai.
  • • On February 18, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Government of India, inaugurated MHI Engineering and Industrial Projects India Pvt Ltd (MEIP), a joint venture promoted by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd of Japan (MHI) and Suhail Bahwan Group of Oman (SBG).
  • • Nova Polyclinic, a pioneer in short-stay surgeries, opened its first polyclinic and a short-stay surgical unit in February in Oman.
  • • On February 5, Global information technology giant Infosys, made a partnership with Oman’s Information Technology Company (IITC), part of OHI group for its popular universal banking solution product Finacle.
  • • On February 13, an investment of US$ 45 million was committed to the joint venture of Khimji Ramdas Shipping of Oman and TM International Logistics Ltd., an integrated marine logistics service company of India, in developing the facilities linked to the operation of a new bulk minerals terminal at the Port of Sohar.
  • • On March 18, India’s Godrej entered in a partnership with Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD) in Oman’s healthcare facilities and allied services industry.
  • • On March 30, Balaji Shipping Lines, part of the Transworld Group of companies from India announced their direct service to Sohar Port from Mundra port (Gujarat).
  • • On June 5, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. of India announced its partnership with Khimji Pharmacy LLC of Oman and launched its entry into Oman/GCC pharmaceutical market.
  • • On June 9, the Port of Sohar inked a pact with the Metkore Alloys and Industries to set up a 108 MVA Ferro chrome plant spread across 20 hectares of land at Sohar Freezone at a cost of $ 80 million.
  • • On June 12, the Embassy of India, Muscat and Qurum Business Group in partnership with Geogit BNP Paribas organized a Conference, titled ‘India: the Incredible Investment Destination’. A high level delegation from the Ministry of Finance, India led by Joint Secretary (Capital Markets) including senior representatives from the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Department of Revenue (Tax authorities) and Department of Disinvestments participated in the Conference. The Conference was an introduction to the new liberalized investment norms in India providing an attractive opportunity for investors especially generated by Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI) route.
  • • On June 23-25, a high level business delegation coordinated by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and led by Mr. KKM Kutty, former Chairman of CII (Southern Region) and CEO and MD of South West Group of Companies visited Oman in order to explore new opportunities in the Omani composite industrial segment. The delegation had meetings in Ministry of Oil & Gas, Tender Board of Oman, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Ministry of Transport & Communication, Salalah Free Zone Muscat office. The delegation also visited Port of Sohar and Sohar Industry & Port Company (SIPC). Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted a Seminar and B2B meetings for the delegation. The Embassy organised a Business Interaction for the visiting delegation with prominent Omani business groups.
  • • On August 27, Oman India Joint Investment Fund invested around $13 million in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed Industrial Explosive manufacturer, Solar Industries India Ltd.
  • • On August 28, L&T (Oman) LLC bagged an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract valued around US$ 235 mn. from the State-owned Petroleum Development Oman(PDO).
  • • Bahwan Cyber Tek (BCT) Group signed an MOU with Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad to provide executive education courses in Oman from September 2012 which will later also be offered to other countries in the region.
  • • As per the local media report on August 28, the Oman India Joint Investment Fund invested around $10 million (Rs. 55 crore) in the Chennai-based electronics company, Indus Teqsite Pvt Ltd.
  • • In September 2012, Bank of Baroda opened its fourth branch in the Sultanate at Sohar.
  • • On September 4-6, 70 companies from India, including from FIEO, participated in the Indexpo Muscat 2012 and exhibited goods in the sectors like health-care, engineering, property, plastics, herbal medicines etc.
  • • On September 4-6, a 27-member delegation from FICCI visited Muscat and held business meetings at Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Public Authority for Investment & Promotion of Export Development (PAIPED).
  • • On September 19, National Bank of Oman (NBO) launched its portfolio management services in the Indian capital market with Reliance Wealth Management (RWM), to provide distinct Indian investment products to its private banking customers.
  • • During September, Oman Muscat Municipality awarded L&T Oman, the local subsidiary of India’s Larsen & Toubro, an estimated RO 3 million ($8 million) contract to convert Al-Koud roundabout into a free-flow traffic interchange (near Al-Seeb).
  • • On September 26, Larsen & Toubro Oman (LTO) completed and handed over GUTech (German University of Technology) building to University administration. It was built by LTO with-in record 18 months at a cost of RO 18 milion
  • • India’s Associated Group interested in downstream metals processing, aluminum fabrication, mining, logistics and renewable, is planning to establish a calcined lime project in Salalah Free Zone. The proposed venture, estimated to involve an investment of $10 million, is the latest in a series of industrial projects that are due to come up in the Salalah free zone.
  • • As per reports on October 4, Jindal Steel & Power, which owns the 1.5 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) capacity direct reduction iron (DRI) plant in Sohar, plans to build a pelletizing project in Oman to meet its iron ore requirements in India.
  • • On October 14, Composite Pipes Industry LLC (CPI) announced that the CPI will set up a manufacturing facility in India with an annual capacity of 5,000MT pipes by 2013, targeting South Asian markets. CPI Oman is involved in manufacturing and installation of composite pipes and fittings of all types of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and glass reinforced vinyl ester (GRV) pipes. CPI Oman will become the first GRE and GRV pipe manufacturer in India for supplying low and high pressure pipelines to the oil and gas industry. The company plans to set up its Indian operations with an initial investment of Rs500mn (RO3.65mn) and expect a modest turnover of Rs.2 bn. (RO14.6mn) by 2015.
  • • On October 14, Indian Ministry of Tourism in association with Embassy of India, Muscat organized “Incredible India” road show and B2B meeting at Al-Bustan Palace hotel in Muscat. A high-level delegation comprising Additional Secretary to Ministry of Tourism; Minister of Tourism, Culture, Archeaology & Museums (Government of Andhra Pradesh); and Regional Director, India Tourism (Dubai) were in Oman to give a glimpse of the attractive tourism destinations in India as well as the countless cultural, spiritual and travel experiences that India offers to tourist.
  • • On October 23, Godrej Locking Solutions and Systems appointed Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD), Oman's leading business group as its sole distributor of locking solutions and architectural hardware products.
  • • In November 2012, Coimbatore Ayurvedic Centre (CAC), authorized dealers of The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore Ltd (AVP), inaugurated their second branch at the Ruwi High street in Muscat recently.
  • • November 2012: Galfar Engineering and Contracting Company bagged two road construction contracts in India. National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.NHAI awarded a tender to Galfar for four-laning of the Kashipur-Sitarganj section of National Highway 74 in the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis with a grant of Rs. 2.23 bn. (RO 16 mn.). The project is expected to cost RO 42.6 mn. The concession period is 21 years for the contract and construction period is 910 days.
  • • On December 8, Muttawar Omani Co SAOC, a subsidiary of GLOREI (Global Omani Development & Investment Company SAOC) awarded the tender for its new Residential Mix Use project to L & T Oman.

* On January 14, 2013 internationally known educational institution Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan launched its first school in Oman titled Bhavan's Modern International School. It is expected that it will reduce some burden from the existing Indian community schools in Oman.

* The Caledonian College of Engineering (CCE), Oman signed an agreement on March 2, for cooperation with the National Institute of Construction Management & Research (NICMAR), Pune (India); an institute established by the construction industry in India. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Dr Ahmed al Bulushi, Acting Dean at CCE and Dr M G Korgaonker, Director General of NICMAR. The purpose of the agreement is to provide Omanis with intensive courses to cater to local and regional markets. What makes NICMAR unique is that its courses are tailor-made for the job market.

* India’s Simplex Infrastructure won the bid of the third package of Batinah Expressway with a capital expenditure of OMR 116 million ($291 million). The contract entails a 43- kilometre stretch of the expressway between Khabourah and Suwaiq. The Batinah Expressway project is divided into six packages, second of which is to be re-tendered soon following a recent cancellation ( of the award to Malaysian WCT Berhad JV, worth RO 123.2 mn last year) by Ministry of Transport & Communication.

* As per the local media, Oman's first ferrochrome smelter, a 50:50 joint venture between Muscat Overseas Group and India's Indsil group, is expected to start its operation in Sohar Free Zone in June, 2013. It is believed that this project will strengthen India-Oman ties and Oman's position in the global ferrochrome market, which is used for manufacturing specialty stainless steel.

Indian Community in Oman

  • • Indian community is the largest expatriate community in the Sultanate of Oman spread over the entire spectrum of professions. As per the Ministry of Manpower statistics, as of January 2012, the number of Indian expatriates in Oman is 7,18,252 and the number of Indian workers in Oman is 581,832. As per the statistics bulletin for the month of April 2013 by the National Centre for Statistics & Information, as of March 2013 the number of registered Indian workers in Oman has risen to 6,08,635. There are many Indian professionals occupying key positions in Omani government and private sector. Indian nationals in Oman are well-known for their hard work and dedication. Thousands of them are working as doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, teachers, lecturers, nurses, managers, etc. It is estimated that around 2,000 Indian doctors work in Oman in Government hospitals and in clinics in the private sector. There are also some 30 Indian academics in the Sultan Qaboos University's various departments and faculties. 19 Indian Schools, with CBSE affiliation, are functioning in Oman. The contribution of Indian workers - both in the skilled class and semi- and un-skilled classes- to the development of Oman is highly acknowledged by the Omani Government. It is estimated that 70% of the Indians in Oman are blue-collar workers.
  • • Outstanding contributions of Indians and People of Indian Origin in Oman to the strengthening of our bilateral relations have been recognized by the Government of India through Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees from Oman are: Shri Kanaksi Khimji (2003), Dr. P. Mohamed Ali (2004), P.N.C. Menon (2009), S.K. Virmani (2010), and Sh. Kiran Asher (2012).
  • • There are 19 Indian schools offering CBSE syllabus catering to the educational needs of more than 42,000 Indian children. To accommodate the growing number of school going children of Indian expatriates, some of the schools in Muscat have started evening batches. The Schools are distributed in different cities like Muscat (Indian School Muscat, Darsait, Wadi Kabir, Seeb, Al Ghubra, Mabella), Nizwa, Muladha, Sohar, Sur, Salalah, Ibri, Ibra, Jalan, Rustaq, Khasab, Buraimi, Thumrait and Massirah. The Board of Directors is the governing body of Indian Schools in Oman and includes Embassy representative. Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan has, during January 2013, set up the Modern International School with CBSE ( I ) syllabus, in Muscat.
  • • As per the provision of the MoU on Manpower signed during the Prime Minister’s visit to Oman (November 8, 2008), an India-Oman Joint Working Group was set up which has held three annual meetings. The last meeting was held in Mumbai during September 2012. Several labour related issues like standardized Model Employment Contract, payment of salary through banks, retention of passport by employers, exchange of information with regard to illegal recruitment and human trafficking, etc. were discussed in these meetings.

Cultural Relations

The vibrant Indian Community is keeping its cultural heritage and traditions alive in Oman. Visits of popular artistes from the field of films and music in the past few years have strengthened the cultural bondage with Omanis, who cherish their cultural links with India. ICCR regularly sponsors visits of artistes to Oman. MOU on Cultural Cooperation signed in July 2010 has provided impetus to the cultural collaboration.

Indian Social Club, with its 17-odd wings and branches in Salalah and Sohar is the umbrella organization representing the Indian Community in the country. The Club, its branches and Wings regularly organize cultural events in various parts of the Sultanate of Oman.

In April 2011, a National Records and Archives Authority delegation from Oman visited the National Archives of India, New Delhi to view and reproduce documents dating back to 18th century pertaining to Oman. The research would continue for several months to complete collecting the history of India-Oman relations from the archives in economic, political, and cultural fields. Head of the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman led a delegation to India during September 2012 for attending the meeting of the Heads of the National Archives of the IOR-ARC member countries, and Oman participated in a mobile exhibition.

The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) for the first time during its season 2012-13 scheduled a total of eight performances by four Indian troupes: The Nine Jewels of India (Sept. 2012), Manganiyar Seduction (Nov. 2012), Zakir Hussain (Feb. 2013) and Subramanian (March 2013).

Air Link:

Currently, Air India (including Air India, and Air India Express) is operating 34 weekly flights, Jet Airways is operating 21 weekly flights and IndiGo four weekly flights from Muscat to Mumbai. Spice Jet has also announced operation of daily flights between Mumbai and Muscat. Oman Air operates 75 flights per week to 10 destinations in India. During the Civil Aviation Talks held in Muscat on November 25-26, the two sides signed a revised MOU agreeing on increasing the number of weekly passenger seats from 11,550 to 16,016, and weekly flights from 75 to 104, for each side from either end.

June 23, 2013



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