Indian Ambassador to Oman Amit Narang has confirmed that India is sending wheat consignments to the country and “more shipments of wheat will be on their way to Oman soon”. Indian supplies to Oman come even as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has impacted the global supply chain and wheat supply. Both the countries are major exporters of wheat to the international community.
Speaking to WION’s principal diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Envoy Narang said, “as soon as the conflict began we initiated discussion with the Omani side and happy to report already Indian consignments of wheat have reached Oman”. The matter also came up during the discussion between the Indian, and Omani trade ministers during the joint commission meeting on Wednesday.
The Indian envoy also said that Oman and India are looking at preferential trade agreements. India was already looking at a comprehensive trade agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, of which Oman is an important member. Here is the detailed interview.
WION: What are the key outcomes of the India, Oman joint commission meeting?
Amit Narang: The Omani commerce minister is in Delhi, on Wednesday we had a very productive session of the joint commission meeting, chaired on our side by our minister of commerce and industry, Piyush Goyal. Oman is India’s most trusted and strategic partner in the Gulf region and this relationship is essentially founded on a trade and investment relationship which has been with us for several decades. We have over 6000 Indian companies invested in Oman, a total investment of over 7.5 billion dollars. On the other side, trade relations are also growing very robustly. We have touched nearly $10 billion of bilateral trade this year. So on the back of these developments, it is very important to have institutional mechanisms meet and meet early, especially after the disruption of the pandemic. Wednesday saw a productive session, a very wide-ranging discussion on a range of topics covering the entire gamut of not just trade and commerce relations but several other fields, including financial and others. Very good outcomes which hopefully will anchor the relationship in the next few years.
WION: How does the use of the RuPay card help the diaspora?
Amit Narang: Yes, it does, the USP of the RuPay card, is that once you put that in motion it also allows more Indian travelers to come and spend their money for tourism-related purposes. The discussions with the Omani government are ongoing and I can they are at a very advanced stage In principle, there is an acceptance that it will be done. Some technical level discussions are being sorted out, hopefully, in the next few months, it will be done.
WION: On wheat export from India, India is giving wheat consignment to various countries. What has the been conversation like, amid the Russia Ukraine crisis
Amit Narang: Look, the conflict in Europe has brought the issue of supply chain disruption in the food sector to light, but even other than that India is the largest exporter of food products to Oman, especially rice. They had a large dependency on Ukraine for Wheat imports and as soon as the conflict began we initiated a discussion with the Omani side and were happy to report already Indian consignments of wheat have reached Oman, to the extent that on Wednesday our minister categorically said that India has committed to Oman’s food security and any disruption they may encounter India will be happy to fill in, these details have been shared with them. I am happy and very confident in terms of wheat more and more shipments of wheat will be on their way to Oman soon.
WION: On the relationship, we have seen high-level visits. How do you see the relationship going?
Amit Narang: The relationship is on an upswing, my sense after going to Oman and having spent 6 months, as both countries are coming out of the pandemic, we are both returning to a high growth trajectory, and based on the historical relationship we have and very strong people to people relation, this relationship is poised to jump to the next level. The last few months, as you have mentioned, has seen a string of high-level visits from Oman side and this will continue hopefully and we will ensure all the institutional mechanism to anchor the relationship are taken to fruition. Discussion in the JCM on Wednesday will help us anchor some of the discussions going forward. There has been discussion on looking at a preferential trade agreement, between India and Oman and that should help kick start or rather put the relationship into a different trajectory all together.
Watch WION’s live TV here: