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Duqm could become the next Singapore

Special to Times of Oman

A noteworthy geopolitical shift is emerging that the media have yet to report on. In future years, a sizable portion of the US Navy's forces in the Middle East could be spending less time in the Arabian Gulf and more time in the adjacent Indian Ocean. Manama in Bahrain will continue to be the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet.

But American warships and their crews, as well as the myriad supply and repair services for them, could be increasingly focused on the brand new Omani port of Duqm, located outside the Arabian Gulf on the Arabian Sea, which, in turn, forms the western half of the Indian Ocean.

A few years ago, Duqm was just a blank spot on the map, facing the sea on a vast and empty coastline with its back to the desert. Now, $2 billion has been invested to build miles and miles of quays, dry docks, roads, an airfield and hotels.  Duqm is a stupendous development that aims to be a logistical supply chain city of the 21st century, whose basis of existence will be purely geographical and geopolitical. Duqm has little history behind it; it will be all about trade and business. If you look at the map, Duqm lies safely outside the increasingly vulnerable and conflict-prone Arabian Gulf, but close enough to take advantage of the Gulf's energy logistics trail. It is also midway across the Arabian Sea, between the growing middle classes of India and East Africa.

For Oman, Duqm...

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