Muscat: India remains committed to investing in Oman’s people and the future of the country for the long-term, according to Indra Mani Pandey, the country’s ambassador to Oman.
With trade between the two nations having crossed $4 billion mark (OMR 1.54 billion) between April 2016 and March 2017, and a further $7.5 billion (OMR 2.89 billion) invested in more than 2,900 Indo-Omani business establishments, India and Oman have had a long association that far predates the 47 years of official diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Having seen generations of Indians thriving in the Sultanate, having come here with little more than hopes and dreams, Pandey is now hoping Omani businesses will be able to flourish in India in the future.
“Both India and Oman accord very high importance to mutual investments because it helps in boosting mutual businesses, and it helps create employment opportunities for our nationals, and it is therefore very important that Indian companies continue to invest in Oman, and that Omani companies continue to invest in India,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman.
“In the Special Economic Zones of Sohar and Salalah, the largest number of companies that have invested are Indian organisations,” he added. “In fact, it is not just major Indian companies, but many of the smaller and medium-sized ones that are also involved in Oman.”
Pandey is not wrong when he says Indian firms are investing heavily in Oman.
Many well-known organisations, such as Larsen and Toubro, TVS Motor Company, and Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd. are just a few of the major players aiding the Omani economy, and remain committed to doing so as the nation embarks on its Tanfeedh economic diversification programme.
“Indian firms have gained a reputation for excellence in sectors like construction and engineering, waste management, logistics, manufacturing, finance and capital, software solutions, communications, oil and gas etc,” said Pandey.
“In Sohar, with an estimated total Indian investment of around $2 billion in projects from Larsen and Toubro, Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel, Indsil Ferrochrome, Metkore Alloys & Industries etc, Indian entities comprise the largest foreign investors.
“In Salalah, Indian investments are (involved) in manufacturing projects, such as TVS Dunes Oman LLC, GC Textile Corporation, Oswal Group’s Saltic FZCO for chemicals, Hind Aluminium, which will manufacture cables, Kailash Group’s guar processing unit, Indo-Oman Apparel, Nagarjuna Fertilizer plant etc,” he added. “In the Duqm Special Economic, Zone, there is also a significant Indian presence, including Sebacic Oman’s $ 1.2 billion project for the largest sebacic acid plant in the Middle-East.”
Ambassador Pandey was also quick to praise Oman’s infrastructure and investor-friendly environment, which has made it a very attractive investment destination, in addition to the Sultanate’s strategic location in the Middle East, which provides it access to the emerging markets of the Middle East, East Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. It’s not just private companies, but publicly-backed ones that are committing to Oman for the long-term as well.
The Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO) in Sur was established as a result of initiatives of the Governments of the two countries, while the $969 million joint venture between India’s public sector enterprises Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and fertiliser manufacturers Krishak Bharati Cooperative (KRIBHCO), and the Oman Oil Company, manufactures urea for export to India.
“Indian financial institutions, such as State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Ltd. and ICICI Securities, and public sector undertakings, such as Air India, Air India Express, Life Insurance Corporation, New India Assurance Co., Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd., Engineers India Ltd., Engineering Projects India Ltd. and the National Building Construction Company have presence in Oman,” added Pandey.
“Embassy of India, Muscat, has been encouraging Indian companies to engage more with Oman and benefit from the tremendous opportunities for trade and investment opportunities in Oman, including Duqm’s Special Economic Zone,” he said. “There is a vast scope for increasing Indian presence in sectors, such as engineering goods, power equipment, minerals and mining, information technology, pharmaceuticals, etc. Further, India and Oman can enhance bilateral cooperation in areas, such as development of SMEs (small and medium enterprises), skill development, agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas, and education.”