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Oman And India To Collaborate On Space Projects

H.M. Sultan Qaboos of the Sultanate of Oman welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Muscat. Photograph courtesy of the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman in February 2018 has resulted in the release of a joint statement by Muscat and New Delhi identifying space as one of several sectors in which the two nations could collaborate.

As a result of Modi’s visit earlier this year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications calls for cooperation in areas such as space applications and technologies, space science, satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), and space-based surveillance, as well as other space and satellite projects.

“There are a lot of opportunities for Oman to benefit from space applications and technologies,” said Indra Mani Pandey, a former Indian ambassador to Oman speaking to the Times of Oman. “Be it the management of natural resources, surveillance of the coastal line, or looking at border areas, there are different aspects of space that Oman can benefit from.”

The MoU is part of a wider Indian engagement with Oman, whose strategic location along the Arabian Sea is increasingly of value to a number of great powers, including China.

“As you know, India’s space sector has developed based on our developmental needs,” said Pandey. “We have lot of experience, from the inception stage, where the requirements can be assessed, to building and managing satellites and ground stations, as well as using space data for different applications.”

The collaboration is expected to benefit both countries, as working with Oman could boost ISRO’s credentials as a reliable and beneficial international partner, while the Indian space agency could provide important and much needed resources, technologies, and expertise to Oman.

“What we have offered to Oman is our readiness to share our technologies and experience in whatever manner,” said the former Indian ambassador.

“Here, again, our defining philosophy is that we will go by the requirements of Oman.”

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