INDIA SECURES ACCESS TO DUQM PORT FOR MILITARY USE
India and Oman have signed a pact that envisages the use of the strategically located Duqm port and dry dock for maintenance of Indian military vessels and logistical support.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sultan Qaboos of Oman has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Military Cooperation.
- The pact includes access to the key Port of Duqm and dry dock and other facilities to Indian naval ships in the strategically located Gulf country.
- Both sides have also agreed to the regular holding of joint military exercise by all the three defense forces: navy, air force, and army.
- Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and declared no justification for any act of terrorism anywhere.
ABOUT PORT OF DUQM
- Situated on the south-eastern seaboard of the Sultanate of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
- Port of Duqm is fast becoming an important reality of the Middle East region’s rapidly transforming maritime landscape.
- With its deep draft, lengthy quay walls, and expansive basin, Port of Duqm has the trappings of a world-class, multipurpose commercial gateway.
- The port geographical location at the crossroads of International East-West shipping routes, as well as its proximity to sea lanes and international shipping lanes, which links the key production markets of the East with the west market of consumers, makes it extremely important.
- The port will be crucial for India as it will act as India's entry point for wider West Asia and Eastern Africa.
BENEFITS FOR INDIA
After securing access to Iran’s Chabahar port, India was eyeing for a role at Oman’s strategically located Duqm port to enable India in expanding its economic presence in the hydrocarbon-rich West Asia.
- Countering China: This initiative is a part of India’s maritime strategy to counter Chinese influence and activities in the Indian Ocean region.
- Stronger defense ties: India is becoming a good friend of Gulf countries and such move will provide a boost to defense ties between Oman and India. Oman is India's oldest defense partner in West Asia and an ally in its anti-piracy campaign. India had supplied rifles to Oman, which in turn had sent support for India's fleet of Hawk aircraft.
- Maritime security: Maritime security remains the main concern for most of the countries and the cooperation between the two sides will enhance maritime security in the Gulf and Indian Ocean region.
- Expansion of trade: Both sides underlined the economic transformation of India and Oman and emphasized the importance of trade in economic development and to take the strategic engagement forward. It will substantially increase the flow of bilateral investment and trade.
Access to Port of Duqm is a great development due to its strategic location. With this, India will not only expand its footprints in the Indian Ocean but also boost the defense ties between India and Oman. Both sides have expressed satisfaction over the current state of relations and agreed to further expand their cooperation to new areas of mutual interest including space, energy security, cybersecurity, renewable energy and food security that will further boost the strategic partnership.