India and Oman will further strengthen their strategic and defense ties during the fortnight-long counter-terrorism drills between the armies of the two countries in Rajasthan starting Monday.
The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and an important interlocutor in the forums of the Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), the Arab League and the Association of Indian Ocean Rim Countries (IORA).
Giving details of the exercise, army officials said on Sunday that the fourth edition of the joint military exercise “AL NAJAH-IV” will be held at the overseas training center of the Mahajan firing ranges. near Bikaner, Rajasthan. The Royal Army of Oman contingent, consisting of 60 members of the Sultan of Oman Parachute Regiment, arrived at the exercise site. The Indian Army is represented by the troops of the 18th Mechanized Infantry Battalion. The previous edition of Ex AL NAJAH IV was organized in Muscat in March 2019.
The scope of the upcoming exercise includes professional interaction, mutual understanding of exercises and procedures, establishment of joint command and control structures, and elimination of terrorist threats.
The joint exercise will focus on counter-terrorism operations, regional security operations and peacekeeping operations under the UN charter, in addition to conducting joint physical training programs, tactical drills, techniques and procedures, they said.
A comprehensive training program to culminate in a 48-hour validation exercise involving the establishment of joint mobile checkpoints, joint cordon and search operations followed by joint indoor response exercises in a built-up area has been developed.
The joint military exercise aims to enhance the level of defense cooperation between the Indian Army and the Royal Oman Army and will further manifest in enhancing bilateral relations between the two nations. Elaborating on the relationship between the two countries, they said.
Oman gives high priority to its ties with India. The two countries across the Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations, which are attributed to historic maritime trade ties, family intimacy royal relationship with India and the decisive role played by the Indian expatriate community in the construction of Oman, which is recognized by the Omani government. Defense cooperation between India and Oman has become a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries. There have been regular exchanges of visits between the defense ministers of the two parties. The Indian Minister of Defense visited Oman in May 2016 during which four MoUs were signed.
Over the past few years, the Indian Defense Secretary, Navy and Army Chiefs have visited Oman with reciprocal visits to India by the three Omani Service Commanders and the Secretary General of Defence.
The defense ministries of the two countries review their relations every year under the aegis of the meeting of the Joint Committee on Military Cooperation. The Air Force and Navy undertake staff talks on a regular basis, which has been the catalyst for new areas of cooperation.
Since 2008, Oman has extended its support to the Indian Navy’s anti-piracy missions and Indian Navy ships are regularly hosted by Oman for overseas deployments.