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India and Oman forge archival collaboration

India and Oman forge archival collaboration

National Archives of India (NAI) meeting the National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) of Oman.

Oman: India and Oman are gearing up for collaboration in the archival domain. A high-level delegation from the National Archives of India (NAI), led by Director General Arun Singal, alongside Deputy Director Dr. Sanjay Garg and Archivist Ms. Sadaf Akhtar, embarked on a significant visit to the National Records and Archives Authority (NRAA) of Oman. The primary objective of this visit was to explore avenues for bilateral cooperation in the archival domain.

During their visit, the NAI delegation was given a comprehensive tour of various sections and divisions within the NRAA. Exclusive presentations were delivered by key personnel from different divisions of the NRAA, encompassing Electronic Records and Document Management Systems, the Microfilm Department, the Private Record Section, access to Record Department, Electronic Storage and the Conservation Section. The delegation also had the opportunity to visit the permanent exhibition of records and the Document Destruction Lab.

In bilateral discussions with H.E. Dr. Hamad Mohammed Al-Dhawyani, Chairman of NRAA, Director General Arun Singal emphasised the historical ties between India and Oman. Singal apprised the Chairman of the significant presence of Omani-related records within the NAI and other Indian repositories. As a gesture of goodwill, Singal presented a list of 70 selected documents about Oman available in the NAI, covering the period from 1793 to 1953 and spanning various subjects. The delegation also handed over 523 pages of copies of records, including pivotal historical events such as the change of the Omani Flag in 1868 and the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between India and Oman in 1953.

Both parties underlined the imperative to formalize institutional cooperation. A draft of an Executive Programme of Cooperation (EPC) was finalized during the discussions, which will be submitted for approval by the respective authorities of both countries and officially signed shortly.

The proposed EPC outlines several collaborative activities, including organizing joint exhibitions based on curated archival materials, hosting conferences to spotlight the historical relations between India and Oman, exchanging digital copies of mutually significant documents, facilitating exchange programs involving experts in digitization and preservation and collaborating on the publication of joint archival materials.

The NAI delegation further engaged with representatives of the Indian diaspora residing in Oman, encouraging them to preserve their private archives, which serve as a valuable source of shared history between the two nations. The NAI extended its technical support for the conservation and digitization of these documents, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

The visit marks a significant step towards fostering mutual cooperation in the archival realm between India and Oman, promising a deeper understanding and appreciation of their shared historical narratives.

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