Muscat: Oman’s first ambassador to China, Dr Ibrahim bin Hamoud Al Subhi, heaped praise on His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for radically developing the Sultanate in his nearly five-decade-long reign.
Times of Oman launches Renaissance Day campaign 'Our Oman' — dedicated to His Majesty
Al Subhi said there was unprecedented development under His Majesty.
“Let me just say that there can be no comparison between 1970 and 2018,” said the former ambassador.
“What happened down the years for the new generations, they have to appreciate it. It was a great job. It was a long march, as they say. Today, we have everything.”
“In 1971, even getting bread to eat was like a dream,” he added. “There were no supermarkets. Today, we have everything, thanks to God and thanks to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. May God give him every happiness and a long life. We are very happy about what we have achieved in this time.”
Al Subhi paid tributes to His Majesty’s dedication to developing education and human resources in the Sultanate. “His Majesty concentrated on infrastructure,” he said. “You have to understand that it doesn’t mean just roads and buildings. It includes the benefits that the people get from infrastructure. At the end of the day, the human resources are the wealth of the country. Roads may go, but humans remain.”
“In 1970, we had only three schools with 900 students,” Al Subhi recalled. “Today, we have more than 550 schools with more than half a million students. So it’s not just about roads. It’s about health and educational infrastructure as well.”
He said that infrastructure had undergone extensive development under His Majesty as well.
Read also: From a teacher to a parliamentarian, Al Riyami recounts growth of Oman
“Roads are important, too,” the former ambassador emphasised.
“Today, we have great roads and we can travel to far away places within the country, something we couldn’t do back then. It took me a week to travel from Muttrah to Nizwa on camel-back in 1965. Today, I turn my car keys and end up in Nizwa in an hour and 30 minutes. This happened in stages, of course, but if you put that aside, the difference between then and now is huge.”
Al Subhi recalled that he was posted in Bahrain as an official when the news about His Majesty becoming the King came. He said he was thankful to His Majesty for giving him an opportunity to serve the nation under many positions.
“I was in Bahrain when I first received the news of His Majesty coming to power, and it was great news for me,” said Al Subhi.
“After a few months, when the delegation from His Majesty came to Bahrain to meet with Sheikh Isa, one of the delegates, Sheikh Abdallah Al Tai contacted me from the airport, saying that he would like to see me. So, I went to the airport and spoke with him. One of the delegates, Sheikh Hilal Al Khalili, went on to become the ambassador of Oman to Saudi Arabia. That was a good experience for me.”
Al Subhi recounted how he eventually became the Sultanate’s first ambassador to China.
“A few months after His Majesty came to power, I came to Oman,” he added.
“This was mid-1971. I had joined the Ministry of Information for a few months. Then, I went back to Bahrain because I had a few things to take care of. But I came back to Oman and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After that, I even went to Saudi Arabia as third secretary. Then, for five years or so, I was in London, and so on and so forth. I was eventually made the Sultanate’s ambassador to China. Thereafter, I was transferred to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as the assistant security general for political affairs.”