India Oman Exercise: Know About Naseem Al Bahr Exercise

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2022, 12:05

India and Oman recently extended their Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on military and maritime security cooperation. Trade and people-to-people connections have long been a part of the relationship between the Republic of India and the Sultanate of Oman.

Along with trade, the India-Oman relationship is bolstered by several defence and cultural cooperation agreements. The renewal of the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on military cooperation and maritime problems has recently made headlines in India-Oman ties.

India Oman Relationship

  • The Sultanate of Oman is an influential speaker at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora, and a strategic partner of India.
  • India is a member of the IORA but not the GCC or the Arab League.
  • Geographically, historically, and culturally, India and Oman are linked and enjoy warm and cordial relations, attributed to historical maritime trade links the Royal family's closeness to India. The seminal role played by the Indian expatriate community in the development of Oman, which the Omani Government acknowledges.
  • Economic cooperation between the two is overseen by institutional structures such as the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and the Joint Business Council (JBC).
  • Cooperation in defence, peaceful uses of outer space, extradition, legal and judicial cooperation in civil and commercial concerns, agriculture, civil aviation, avoidance of double taxation, maritime difficulties, and other areas are covered by key bilateral agreements/MoUs.

Defence Cooperation

Oman is India's oldest defence partner in West Asia and has anti-piracy efforts. Oman has received weapons from India. India is also exploring establishing a defence manufacturing facility in Oman.

All three services of India and Oman participate in biannual bilateral exercises:

  • Al Najah military exercise
  • Eastern Bridge, an air force exercise
  • The Naseem Al Bahr Naval Exercise

Maritime Cooperation

  • Oman is located near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, which accounts for one-fifth of India's oil imports.
  • Oman's grant of dock rights to Indian ships is critical for the Indian Navy's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
  • In 2018, India inked an agreement with Oman to gain access to the port of Duqm.
  • In the Western and Southern Indian Oceans, India cooperates closely with Oman to increase its strategic depth and bolster its Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • India requires its assistance to offset China's rising influence in the area.
  • India is concerned about China's acquisition of critical assets in the region, notably establishing a base at Djibouti's Port of Doraleh.

Background of the Issues

  • Geographically, historically, and culturally, the two countries across the Arabian Sea are linked and enjoy strong and cordial relations related to past maritime trading links.
  • While India and Oman have had people-to-people interaction for over 5000 years, diplomatic relations were established in 1955, and the relationship was upgraded to Strategic Partnership status in 2008. Oman has played an essential role in India's West Asia policy.
  • The Sultanate of Oman is a significant interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab League, and Indian Ocean Rim Association fora and a strategic partner of India in the Gulf.
  • Late HM Sultan Qaboos received the Gandhi Peace Prize 2019 in appreciation of his leadership in developing the connections between India and Oman and his efforts to promote peace in the region.
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FAQs About India Oman Exercise

  • Who was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for resolving the India-Oman issues?

Late HM Sultan Qaboos was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Gulf region.

  • What is the Naseem Al Bahr Naval Exercise?

Since 1993, the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman have conducted Naseem-Al-Bahr (Sea Breeze), a bilateral naval exercise. This exercise is being carried out by the Indian Navy ships Beas and Subhadra and the Omani Navy ships RNOV Al Rasikh and RNOV Kassab.

  • What does IORA stand for?

The IORA stands for Indian Ocean Rim Association.