PM returns home after 3 nation visit to Palestine, UAE and Oman

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Muscat-Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held wide-ranging talks with the Sultan of Oman as the two sides signed eight agreements, including pacts on cooperation in the field of defence, health and tourism.

Before flying to New Delhi, Modi offered prayers at the 125-year-old Shiva Temple, one of the oldest in the region. It was subsequently renovated in 1999.

Besides Sultan Qaboos, the Prime Minister met Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, and Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs Sayyid Asa'ad bin Tariq Al Said. Modi met industry leaders of the Gulf and West Asia region at the India-Oman business meeting on Monday during which he pitched India as an attractive destination to do business.

Though Mr. Modi said, "India hopes for Palestine to soon emerge a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful atmosphere", he dropped any mention of a "united" and "viable" Palestine in his remarks, in a departure from past practice.

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"The two sides acknowledged the common threat posed by terrorism to peace and security and agreed to continue working together bilaterally, regionally and globally to counter this menace".

"The Prime Minister expressed his admiration at the ongoing efforts and plans that the Sultanate of Oman is making to diversify its economy and welcomed the invitation to Indian companies to invest in various sectors in the special economic zones of Oman, including SEZs in Duqm, Sohar and Salalah". Trade and economic ties are becoming central to the India-UAE relationship.

In a strategic move to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean region, India has secured access to the key Port of Duqm in Oman for military use and logistical support, top sources have told The Indian Express. India is likely to step up its military presence in Oman. Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf and an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Stating that over 65 per cent of India's population is below 35 years of age, Modi stressed the need to encourage the youth in the field of innovation while seeking global cooperation to realise the dream to create a "New India".

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