India and Oman on Thursday renewed two agreements on military cooperation and maritime issues, the defence ministry said. The agreements will ensure the continuation of cooperation in specific areas of defence and security, officials said. “India and Oman renewed the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on military cooperation along with its annexure as well as on maritime issues on May 20,” the ministry said. It said the signing ceremony of MoU on military cooperation was held at Oman”s ministry of defence in Muscat.
The document was signed by the Secretary-General of Oman’s defence ministry Dr Mohammed bin Nasser Al Zaabi and Indian Ambassador Munu Mahawar. The MoU on cooperation on maritime issues was signed at the maritime security center by Commander of Royal Navy of Oman Rear Admiral Saif bin Nasser Al Rahbi and Mahawar.
Oman is the first Gulf nation to have formalized defence relations with India. Both countries conducted joint military exercises in 2006 and subsequently signed a defense agreement. Following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Oman in 2008, defence co-operation between the two countries was further stepped up. The Indian Navy has berthing rights in Oman, and has been utilizing Oman’s ports as bases for conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. The Indian Air Force has also been holding biannual joint exercises with the Royal Air Force of Oman since 2009. Oman has approached India in order to fence along the Oman-Yemen border in order to protect the nation from growing unrest in Yemen The standard issue rifle of the Royal Army of Oman is India’s INSAS rifle. India has a listening post at Ras al Hadd. and birthing rights for the Indian Navy at Muscat naval base.