Oman has wholeheartedly welcomed India's election as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) and hoped it would play a positive role in ushering peace in West Asia.

Oman also wished to see India on the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) so that it could contribute to the collective effort to maintaining peace and security along with other countries with interest in the region, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, told journalists after talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here on Wednesday.

Significantly, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are the two GCC nations which back India's nomination as a permanent member in an expanded UNSC.

Calling India a “neighbour which has always played the role of peace,'' he agreed that it could play an important role in the Gulf in addressing issues such as piracy and energy security. He also referred to the expatriate population of nearly six lakh Indians in Oman (and nearly 50 lakh in GCC nations) as a factor that should ensure that India had a stake in the region.

Mr. Krishna underlined the continuing upsurge in economic and commercial ties and noted the signing of detailed documents for the setting up of an Oman-India Joint Investment Fund.

Agreed upon during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Muscat in 2008, the fund would have a seed capital of $100 million with a possible upward limit of $1.5 billion. The Omani Minister said the fund would pay the way for sizeable investments by Gulf companies to invest in infrastructure projects.

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