Swaraj pushes Muscat for undersea gas pipeline

India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj today told the Oman government that there was a "multiplicity of opportunities" to step up bilateral ties, including as supplier of natural gas.

On her maiden visit to Muscat she said her government would unveil more economic reforms in the coming days to attract foreign investment.

India and Oman reviewed their strategic ties and decided to expand defence and maritime cooperation to maintain the stability and security of the Indian Ocean region.

Swaraj met her counterpart Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and reviewed bilateral political, economic, defence and security issues as well as the regional situation.

Swaraj, the first Indian external affairs minister to visit Oman in seven years, also called on the oil-rich Gulf state's deputy prime minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said and minister of the royal office and head of the defence council General Sultan bin Mohammed Ali Nuamani.

Officials said the two sides explored opportunities on how Oman can plug into the expanding opportunities in India, including as a natural gas supplier. The possibility of revisiting an undersea pipeline was also discussed.

India and Oman are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.

There are over seven lakh Indians working in Oman in various sectors. They form the largest expatriate group in Oman. They repatriate around $3 billion annually.

India is also keen on cooperation with Oman in cyber security. "Cyber is an important area of discussion between the security agencies, or the security establishments in India and Oman," Akbaruddin said.