Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has visited Oman, in an effort to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the country and the wider Gulf region.
The visit represents the UK’s integrated approach to defence and foreign policy and the UK’s enduring commitment to working with Oman and Gulf partners on promoting regional security and stability.
Mr Wallace said:
HMS Queen Elizabeth is here to demonstrate our commitment to the Omanis as invaluable partners and to show our support to the wider Gulf region.
This visit presents an opportunity to see UK forces working hand in hand with our Omani partners across land, air and sea exercises, promoting stability and security in the region and confronting our shared threats.
The Defence Secretary hosted the Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, His Highness Shihab bin Tariq, onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth which leads the UK Carrier Strike Group and is on its maiden operational deployment to the Indo-Pacific and Middle East.
Mr Wallace and His Highness Shihab bin Tariq also had the opportunity to see Exercise KHANJAR OMAN at the Ras Madrakah training area. This is a joint battlegroup exercise involving UK and Omani troops, with ground forces supported by the Carrier Strike Group at sea and F-35 jets from the air.
Brigadier Marcus Mudd, Land Component Commander in Oman commented:
The Future of the British Army out here in Oman is extraordinarily exciting.
This is all about partnership. Oman is a strategic partner to the UK, particularly within the Gulf region. Being able to draw from each other’s strengths and the specialist capabilities that we have is an incredible opportunity.
During Mr Wallace's visit, RAF Typhoon jets arrived in Oman in advance of Exercise MAGIC CARPET – a joint air exercise between the UK, Oman and Qatar Air Forces which will take place in the coming weeks.