Oman Rupee Trade

Possibility Of Rupee Trade With Oman: FS Kwatra

Oman Rupee Trade

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra on Saturday said that discussions are underway between India and Oman about utilising the UPI stack, adding that talks on the possibility of Rupee trade which is an “important element of cooperation,’ is still at the “exploratory stage”.

Kwatra’s remarks came while addressing a special briefing at the Ministry of External Affairs on the State Visit of the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tarik, to India.

“Another element of discussion where we would try to move forward is the possibility of Rupee trade which can work between the two countries but this is still at an exploratory stage but can be an important element of cooperation going forward,” Kwatra said while responding to ANI question.

On talks of digital payment cooperation between Oman and India, the Foreign Secretary said both sides discussed utilising the UPI stack with the potential corresponding digital stack in the Omanis ecosystem.

“There are also other elements of the Indian stack in terms of the digital infrastructure that can be suitable to Omanis priorities with regard to using now financial inclusion and financial technology payment systems; those are only one element of it but the interface of the UPI with a corresponding Oman platform is something we can talk about,” he added.

Kwatra also talked about the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and mentioned that the negotiations have started recently, which have made substantial progress in the last few rounds of discussion and both leaders gave strong impetus to conclude it as early as possible.

“An area that featured very prominently in the discussions between the two leaders was ongoing discussions between the two countries for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Although the negotiations on CEPA have started only recently, they have made substantial progress in the last few rounds of discussion and both leaders gave strong impetus and push to conclude the CEPA Agreement as early as possible,” Kwatra said.

Briefing further on the Sultan of Oman’s maiden visit to India, Kwatra said, “This is the first visit of Sultan of Oman to India. This is also the first state visit from Oman to India in the last 26 years. Some of you would recall that the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said visited India in 1997 and he was also awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019 posthumously.”

The visit gained added importance due to the recent exchanges between the two nations, including Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Sultanate of Oman in February 2018.

Kwatra underscored the significance of Oman’s successful participation as a special guest country in the G20 during India’s presidency, particularly at the G20 summit in September.

“Most recently in our exchanges over the last few years. PM Modi visited the Sultanate of Oman in February 2018. The visit by His Majesty is also important as it follows Oman’s very successful participation as a special guest country in the G20 during the India Presidency and their participation, particularly at the summit of the G20 in September this year,” said the Foreign Secretary.

Kwatra also highlighted the strategic partnership between India and Oman, which is rooted in a long history of cultural ties and has evolved into a comprehensive collaboration spanning political, security, defence, trade, economic, cultural, and people-to-people relations. “India shares a special relationship with Oman anchored in an old history of contacts between our people today,” he said.

Notably, India and Oman are key partners in maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean, reflecting the depth of their cooperation.

“Our relationship has turned into a strategic partnership characterised by strong cooperation across a range of areas in diverse fields. India and Oman are partners for maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean. Both sides enjoy robust and multi-dimensional defence engagement,” the Foreign Secretary added.

Kwatra acknowledged the strong bond shared by the two nations and the special role played by the Indian diaspora in Oman, numbering around seven million individuals who have significantly contributed to the development of Oman’s economy.

“Oman is also home to a large Indian diaspora. About seven Indians called Oman their home and, in the process, made significant and meaningful contributions to the development of the Omanis economy,” he also said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tarik, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

“Transforming India-Oman ties! PM @narendramodi held productive discussions with His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of Oman. The leaders reviewed bilateral relationship covering the areas of political, security, defence, trade, economic, cultural and people to people ties. They also exchanged perspectives on regional and international issues,” posted MEA spokersperson Arindam Bagchi on X, following their meeting.

The two leaders adopted a new ‘India-Oman joint vision, a partnership for the future’ under which both countries will work in ten different areas.

The Sultan of Oman was also accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday, the second day of his state visit to India.

The Sultan was received by Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, as he arrived at the Delhi airport on Friday for a three-day state visit. (ANI)

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