Muscat: Oman and India are entering a new phase of their relationship that stretches back millennia.
Speaking about the crucial role played by the Omani people in fostering close ties between both countries, Amit Narang, ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, during a recent interview with T TV, said: “When I was here, the very first month, a total Omani stranger approached me and said ‘welcome to your home’. That is how he made me feel, and that is how every Indian feels in Oman…right at home.
“We have a great, fantastic relationship – centuries of friendly contact – but frankly, the x-factor of being in Oman is the exceptional kindness and grace of the Omani people that makes our stay here so pleasurable,” he added.
Shedding light on the evolution of ties between both countries, Narang said it was part of his mandate to ensure that the relationship is taken to the next level.
“When I came six months ago to Oman, I genuinely felt that we are on the cusp of a new phase in our relationship,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were easing, both India and Oman are showing strong signs of an economic rebound leading to economic growth, our fundamentals are strong and over that we have excellent leadership…a visionary leadership that has put in place comprehensive plans for national transformation.
“Taken together, if we harness all these factors, we are entering a new phase in India-Oman relations, and my job is to make that happen,” he added. “India-Oman relationships are truly special. It is founded on what we call the triple advantage: Proximity, familiarity and connectivity.
“We believe that we are maritime neighbours: The blue waters of the Arabian Sea unite us, rather than divide us,” he went on to say. “We can gauge our closeness by the fact that it takes just three days of shipping time and two hours of flying time [to travel between both countries].”
The ambassador admitted that the time taken to fly to certain cities in India, from the Omani capital of Muscat, was shorter than the flying time between two destinations inside his own country.
“In fact, it takes less time to travel from Muscat to Mumbai than from Mumbai to Delhi,” he stated. “It’s not just about proximity, it is also about familiarity: Our countries have traded with each other over goods, over ideas, over friendship, over centuries…in fact, over millennia.
“On top of that, there is connectivity: Every major city in India is now connected to Muscat, but I am not talking about physical connectivity alone.”
“It is about cultural connectivity, the mental connectivity, the connectivity of the heart that binds our two peoples together,” said the Indian envoy.
Ambassador Narang also had warm words for the Indian community in Oman. There are just short of half a million Indian nationals working in Oman, making them one of the largest foreign communities in the country, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
“The Indian community is one of the largest expat communities here: It is vibrant, it is dynamic, it is a community that has not just lived and thrived here, but has also contributed substantially to the growth and development of this country,” he said.
“The Indian community is one that believes in the core mantra of hard work, a community that never shies away from a good cause,” he added.
“It is therefore a pleasure to interact with the people of this community, and their response towards our initiatives is quite phenomenal,” he added