India and Oman agree to cooperate in the field of Archives

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

A delegation of the National Archives of India (NAI), New Delhi led by Shri. Arun Singal, Director General of Archives and comprising Dr. Sanjay Garg, Deputy Director, and Ms. Sadaf Fatima, Archivist visited the National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) of Oman on 21-22 February 2024. The purpose of the visit was to explore the areas of bilateral cooperation in the archival field.

The delegation was shown around various sections and divisions. Exclusive presentations were given to the delegation by the In charges of various divisions of the NRAA, including the Electronic Records and Document Management Systems (EDRMS) Section, Microfilm Department, Private Record Section, Access to Record Department, Electronic Storage, and the Conservation Section. The delegation also visited the Permanent Exhibition of Records, and also the Document Destruction Lab.

In bilateral discussions with Dr. Hamad Mohammed Al-Dhawyani, Chairman, NRAA, Shri Arun Singhal dwelt upon the historical ties between India and Oman and informed the Chairman about the existence of a large number of records pertaining to Oman in the NAI, as well as in other repositories of India. As a gesture of goodwill, Shri Singhal handed over a list of 70 select documents pertaining to Oman that are available in the National Archives of India (NAI). These documents cover a period from 1793 to 1953 and deal with a wide range of subjects. Along with the list, 523 pages of copies of records were also handed over to the Chairman, NRAA, which covered several important subjects, viz.:

  • Change of Omani Flag from red to white (1868);
  • Succession of Sayyid Faisal bin Turki as ruler of Oman after the death of Sultan Sayyid Turki (1888);
  • Official Visit of the Sultan of Muscat and Oman to the Viceroy in India (1937); and
  • Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Republic of India and the Sultan of Muscat and Oman signed on the 15th March 1953 at Muscat. (English, Hindi and Arabic versions).

In addition, facsimile prints of three important treaties between the two countries were also gifted to the NRAA. These were:

  1. Treaty between the British India Government and the Sultan of Muscat (in Arabic and English), dated 5 April 1865; and
  2. Two Treaties concluded with the Imam of Muscat: one by Mehdi Ali Khan, dated 12 October 1798 and another by Sir John Malcolm, in his capacity as Envoy of the Governor General of India to the Court of Persia, dated 18 January 1800.

Senior officers of the NRAA including, Ms. Tamima Al-Mahrouqi, Advisor of Chairman, Ms Taiba Mohammed Al-Wahaibi, Assistant Director General for Document Management, Mr. Hamed Khalifa Said Al-Souli, Director of Organization & International Cooperation Department and Ms. Raya Amur Al-Hajri, Assistant Director of Organization and International Cooperation Department, were also present at the meeting.

Both, the DG, NAI and the Chairman, NRAA, underscored the need for formalising the institution-to-institution cooperation between both the countries. After the discussions, the draft of an Executive Programme of Cooperation (EPC) was finalised, which would now be submitted for approval by the competent authorities of both parties and formally signed in the near future.

Some activities agreed upon and included in the proposed EPC include:

  • Organizing a joint exhibition based on curated archival materials from both archives, together with a conference highlighting the historical relations between India and Oman;
  • Exchanging digital copies of documents that hold mutual interest to enrich both collections.
  • Facilitating a framework for exchange program involving experts in the fields of digitization and preservation to share knowledge on best practices of both institutions; and
  • Bringing out a Joint publication based on curated archival materials from both archives.

The delegation also interacted with the representatives of the Indian diaspora who have been living in various parts of Oman for several generations, and many of whom have rich private archives. The Director General, NAI encouraged these members of the Indian diaspora to take care of the physical preservation of archival wealth in their possession as it serves as an authentic source of shared history between the two nations. He also offered NAI’s technical help in the conservation of their documents as well as in their digitization so that the valuable information is preserved for posterity.


Sunil Kumar Tiwari

Source PIB