India-Oman non-oil trade may cross $2-bn mark by 2008-end

August 4th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Aug 4 (IANS) Non-oil bilateral trade between India and Oman is likely to cross the $2-billion mark by the end of this year, according to India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa. “Non-oil bilateral trade in the first quarter of 2008 registered an impressive growth of 35-40 percent and is poised to cross the magical $2-billion mark by the year end,” Wadhwa said while addressing the third meeting of the India-Oman Business Forum over the weekend.

The forum was launched in February this year at the ambassador’s initiative to boost trade between the two countries. This time, the theme of the meeting was ‘Infrastructure’.

“Total trade during the year 2007, including Omani LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports, stood at $1.8 billion, up by 98 percent as compared to the figure of previous year,” a statement issued by the Indian embassy in Oman following the meeting, quoted Wadhwa as saying.

He also underscored the “amazing coincidence that infrastructure, real estate and construction sectors had been a major engine of economic growth in both India and Oman”.

Chief executive of Oman Tourism Development Company Wael Ahmed Al Lawati, speaking on the occasion, shed light on a slew of projects in Oman worth billions of dollars.

He urged discerning entrepreneurs from India to look at the opportunities seriously.

Rajeev Singh, a partner in consultancy firm Ernst & Young Oman, spoke about the various aspects of Islamic finance.

He said that the fact that Islamic finance was sized at $500 billion today, and was expected to attain a staggering figure of $1 trillion by 2016, made it too big a corpus to be ignored by India for long.

According to Rajeev Singh, the portfolio of sectors that have witnessed huge infusion of Islamic finance in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and some European countries, including Britain, such as real estate, utilities, energy, telecom, mining and minerals and infrastructure, precisely matched the sectors that needed huge investments in India.

He expressed the hope that New Delhi would take a feather from the cap of London, which was fast emerging as the global capital of Islamic finance.

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