Special panel to monitor India-Oman investment fund

November 10th, 2008 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

On Board Special Aircraft, Nov 9 (IANS) A special committee has been set up to operationalise the new $100-million India-Oman Joint Investment Fund that was signed in Muscat Saturday, an Indian official said Sunday.The panel has been set up following a suggestion by Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said Sunday.

“During his meeting with Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) in Muscat today, the Sultan suggested that measures should be taken so that investments between India and Oman do not get delayed,” Secretary (East) N. Ravi told the media on board the special aircraft taking the prime minister’s delegation to Doha on the last leg of its three-day Gulf tour.

“It was then decided that a special committee would be set up to ensure that investment proposals between India and Oman don’t get delayed,” he said.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia will head the Indian side of the special committee while his counterpart in Oman will head that country’s side.

Earlier in the day in Muscat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a strong pitch to investors in Oman to invest their surplus liquidity into infrastructure sector in India.

“I would call upon captains of Oman’s industry and financial companies to invest surplus liquidity into key infrastructure sectors in India,” Singh said while addressing a gathering of Oman’s top business leaders here.

“We are determined to create a hospitable climate for investment, particularly foreign investment from friendly countries like Oman,” he said.

The prime minister’s comments came in the wake of India and Oman signing the India-Oman Joint Investment Fund Saturday.

“The fund is the first, but long overdue, step to facilitate investments in infrastructure, tourism, health, telecom, utilities, urban infrastructure and other sectors,” he said.

Stating that the large expatriate Indian community in Oman has always served as a bridge between the two countries, Singh said the revolution in communications and information technology has brought the two sides even closer.

There are over 125 flights operating between the two countries every week, he said, adding that more capacity is being planned.

“Our non-oil trade which was less than $200 million in 2000 has gone up seven-fold to around $1.4 billion a year. I am told this figure soon cross $2 billion,” the prime minister stated.

Referring to the current global financial crisis, he said there was an even greater need for India and Oman to join hands “to shape counter-cyclical growth strategies by focusing on the real economy”.

“India and Oman are well placed to convert this challenge into an opportunity. We count on you to be the architects of this magnificent change,” he said.

The Omani business leaders, praised India for the quick steps it took to meet the global financial crisis.

In response to requests from the members of the audience, the prime minister gave in detail the origin of the global financial crisis and how it would play out in the times to come.

Among those present at Sunday’s gathering were chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khalil Abdullah Al Khonji, executive president of the Omani Centre for Investment Promotion and Export Development and heads of top Omani companies.

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