The Indo-Oman joint investment fund is expected to be launched formally by March 2009, according to Anil Wadhwa, Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. The joint fund with a seed capital of $100 million was announced during the visit of the Indian PM, Manmohan Singh to Oman in November 2008.

The fund is being formed by SBI and the government of Oman. While the initial corpus is pegged at $100 million it can be expanded to $1.5 billion over the next few years.

A special committee would be set up to expedite the investment proposals between the two countries. Deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia will head the Indian side of this special committee.

Acoording to a report, the Indian Ambassador to Oman said: "The fund will invest in sectors that not only yield higher returns, but are also vital to the two economies. It would focus on core infrastructure sectors and real estate. But more significantly, we envisage the fund to act as a catalyst to private sector investments from both countries."

Bilateral trade between the two countries during the January-August 2008 recorded 24.2% growth to reach $1.23 billion from $990 million during the corresponding period in 2007. During this period, Oman's exports to India grew 75.7% to reach $473 million and Oman's imports from India grew 5% to reach $757 million.

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