Check veracity of reports on Delhi riots or anti-CAA protests funding: Oman

The Delhi Police, in its investigation in the Delhi riots case in February 2020, has alleged that funds received from Oman and the UAE in January were meant to facilitate the February riots or the anti-CAA protests.

New Delhi: Oman, India's oldest strategic partner in West Asia with zero track record of being involved in any terror attack or trans-national crimes, stung over recent reports of alleged funds from Oman for Delhi riots or anti-CAA protests has quietly nudged Delhi to check the veracity of the matter.

Oman, in its quintessential style of quiet diplomacy, has moved the Indian government to check veracity of the matter following reports of funds from the Gulf country for Delhi riots, ET has reliably gathered. The West Asian country has sought details from India on funds, network and its origin, according to persons familiar with the process.

The Delhi Police, in its investigation in the Delhi riots case in February 2020, have found that funds were received allegedly from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the month of January. Police are now trying to probe if the funds were received to facilitate the February riots or the anti-CAA protests.

The two sides are further exploring to expand their robust security partnership to combat cross-border criminal acts and transnational crimes, ET has learnt.

Oman, strategically located in West Asia connecting Persian Gulf with the Western and Southern Indian Ocean, has been a zone of high tolerance and moderation with no citizens ever having been part of planning terror attack, according to experts who follow the region.

Oman itself has never witnessed any terror and no Omani citizen has been detected as a member of Al Qaeda and other terror outfits in the region or globally. Oman has for centuries been advocating moderation the strands of that influence are today visible from North Africa to Indonesia, the above mentioned experts explained.

This pluralistic character of Oman brought it closer to India resulting in wide-ranging strategic partnership. It may be recalled that in January India declared national mourning for deceased Sultan Qaboos bin said Al Said, one of Delhi's closest partners in West Asia for decades, sharing special bond with this country.

Qaboos, the chief architect of Indo-Oman strategic partnership including access for Indian Navy at Duqm Port, had a special connect with India having studied in Pune under Shankar Dayal Sharma, who later became India's president. When Sharma visited Muscat in 1996 as the President, Qaboos arranged a grand welcome for him breaking protocol.

“While other Gulf Arabs prefer to get on a camel and go west into the Arab desert, Omanis prefer to be on a boat and drift towards India,” Sultan Qaboos had once observed.

In 2018, during Modi's visit to Muscat, Qaboos made a special gesture of sending breakfast made in the Royal Palace for the PM at the hotel where he stayed. Omani Royal family has a special connect with India.

Qaboos’s grandfather once ruled Oman from India in early decades of the last century and has been buried in Mumbai. Qaboos’ father too had an India connect and was an alumnus of Mayo College.

Qaboos was extremely generous towards the Indian community and took personal interest in two temples in Muscat and gave Omani citizenship to nearly 1,000 Hindus. Oman, under Qaboos, emerged as India’s first strategic partner in West Asia.

Under Qaboos, India and Oman developed a defence partnership with Delhi supplying rifles for the Sultanate's security. Last December India and Oman signed a Maritime Transport Agreement during the visit of foreign minister S Jaishankar to the Sultanate. The pact – the first with any Gulf country – enables India to expand its footprint in the Western & Southern Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and East Africa as part of its Indo-Pacific vision.

The Port of Duqm SEZ, which is earmarked to be the Indian Ocean’s largest deep-sea port, is where an Indo-Oman joint venture, Sebacic Oman, is undertaking a $1.2 billion project to set up the largest sebacic acid plant in the Middle-East.
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