By Adam Rizvi, NYC & Shirin Abbas, Delhi, TIO, January 14, 2020: India declared a day’s state mourning in memory for its good friend on January 13 throughout India. The national flag flew at half-mast and all official entertainments were cancelled as a mark of respect. on Monday. Earlier in 2015, India had declared national mourning for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Lee Kuan Yew, founder of Singapore.
In his tweet on the passing away of the Sultan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated on Tuesday that India has suffered an “irreparable loss” of a true friend and well-wisher with the demise of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman. One of the longest-serving rulers in the Gulf region and a close friend of New Delhi, Qaboos died on January 10 at the age of 79.
“Signed the Condolence Book at the Oman embassy expressing our profound sorrow at the sad demise of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. India has suffered an irreparable loss of a true friend and well-wisher,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.
The deceased Oman Sultan Qaboos was one of Delhi’s closest partners in West Asia for decades sharing special bonds with this country. Earlier in 2015, India had declared national mourning for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Lee Kuan Yew, founder of Singapore.
Qaboos was the chief architect of Indo-Oman strategic partnership including access for the Indian Navy at Duqm Port. Under Qaboos India and Oman had worked out a strategic d defense partnership with Delhi supplying rifles for the Sultanate’s security. In December, the two countries had 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 Indo-Pacific vision.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said had a special connection with India having studied in Pune, India and been a student of Shankar Dayal Sharma who went on to become the 9th President of India. On his 1996 visit to Muscat, Sharma was given the unprecedented honor of having breakfast sent for him from the Palace. 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.
He had high regard for India, its education, medicine, and beliefs. He took a 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.
He retained his ties with India and opened the doors of his state and the palace to many Indians. Apart from other things, he carried back with him a fondness of many things Indian including its music, culture and Indian sweets.
In his passing away India has lost a great friend and his loss will be deeply felt.