Oman has named HM Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al-Said as the country's new Sultan following the death of his cousin Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said. Oman's late Sultan Qaboos bin Said named his preferred successor in a sealed envelope before he died on Friday, January 10. After ruling Oman for nearly five decades, Qaboos bin Said passed away at the age of 79. 

Haitham bin Tariq Al Said
Oman's Culture and Heritage Minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. REUTERS/Tariq AlAli/File Photo

As Qaboos had no children and had not publicly appointed a successor. A 1996 statute says the ruling family must choose a successor within three days of the throne becoming vacant. 

In his first public speech,  Sayyid Haitham asserted that he will continue to pursue Qaboos' peace-oriented foreign policy and focus on Oman's economic growth. He also said that he will focus mostly on external relations, promising to maintain friendly ties with all, and on Oman's tradition of mediation.

As Sultan, Sayyid Haitham holds the position of Prime Minister, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defence, Finance and Foreign Affairs.

10 facts about Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq, the new Sultan of Oman

Haitham bin Tariq Al Said
  • The 66-year-old Haitham bin Tariq succeeded his cousin Qaboos bin Said who passed away on January 10.
  • Previously served as minister of heritage and culture and undersecretary and secretary-general of the ministry of foreign affairs.
  • In 2013, he was appointed as the Head of Oman's development committee.
  • Chairman of the committee for the future vision of "Oman 2040″.
  • Graduate from the  University of Oxford studied diplomacy.
  • First head of the Oman Football Association in the early 1980s.
  • Married and has two sons and two daughters.
  • He is well known among diplomatic circles globally.
  • Owns mega-real estate venture Blue City, which faced difficulties.
  • Honorary president of the Oman Association for the Disabled.

PM Modi congratulates the new Sultan of Oman

In a warm gesture to strengthen India's bilateral relationship with Oman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended congratulations to HM Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said. 

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at the inaugural ceremony of the four refurbished Heritage Buildings, in Kolkata.IANS

"I heartily congratulate HM Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said on taking over as Sultan of Oman. I am confident that under his leadership, Oman will continue to progress and prosper and contribute to global peace. India has millennia-old relations with Oman. We look forward to working hand in hand with HM Sayyid Haitham to further strengthen our strategic partnership," PM Modi tweeted. 

Modi Tweet
Modi Tweet

India-Oman relations

Diplomatic relations between India and Oman were established in 1955 and upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2008. Oman has been supportive of India's bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

India was Oman's third-largest trade partner for both imports and non-oil exports in 2018. Oman is also home to around 8,00,000 Indians with the majority of them as workers and professionals like doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, nurses and teachers.