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Oman, India boost strategic relations

Oman, India boost strategic relations

MUSCAT: Oman and India are intensifying their relations in a number of fields, the Indian Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission said. “Oman and India have a good framework and strategic partnership; we are looking to intensify what we are doing,” Gloria Gangte told the Times of Oman on board the Indian Coast Guard ship Sankalp.

ICGS Sankalp, an advance offshore patrol vessel, is on a visit to Oman as part of the final leg of its visit to the region. It will remain here till February 16 for interaction with the Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies of Oman.

According to Gangte, the Joint Military Cooperation Committee between the Defence Ministries in the Sultanate and the Republic of India, which convened here on February 8 and 9, discussed all aspects of bilateral defence and security cooperation.

Earlier, INS Tarangani and Shabab Oman had sailed from Muscat to Cochin, evoking memories of the ancient India-Oman sea trade. Gangte said the two ships had sailed together to Cochin as part of the 60th anniversary of India-Oman diplomatic ties cementing the relationship between the two friendly countries.

According to the Deputy Inspector General of ICGS Sankalp, through this visit they are planning to consolidate and enhance interactions between the Indian Coastguard and the Royal Oman Police Coastguard.

“We will identify areas of mutual interest while evolving a working and professional relationship in the Maritime Search and rescue, pollution response, anti-piracy, armed robbery and other Maritime Law Enforcement activities to the ICG charter,” Mukul Garg, deputy inspector general, said. “We also want to develop linkages for sharing of information, expertise and training resources for mutual capacity building and enabling more safe and secure seas around us,” he added.

According to the Embassy officials, this is the third visit by an Indian Coastguard ship to Oman in the last three years. The Sankalp has 16 officers and 97 personnel on board, and it is based in Mumbai, under the administrative and operational command of Coast Guard Regional Commander (West), Mumbai.

The 105 metre-long Sankalp, equipped with state-of-the-art navigational and communication sensors, is capable of deploying Advanced Light Helicopters and Chetak helicopters.

Operating at normal speeds, the ship has an endurance of 6,500 nautical miles and can remain at sea for 25 days without refuelling, thus sailing up to her motto—“Extending the Horizon.”

The Sankalp has been extensively deployed on the western seaboard from Gujarat to the Kerala coast, the International Maritime Boundary Line patrol, and for surveillance off the Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of Islands. The word ‘Sankalp,’ means determination, which is symbolic of the Indian Coastguard’s will and motivation to strive for excellence.