The Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz connects Persian Gulf with Gulf of Oman and kindly view the enlarged picture and you would appreciate the maritime boundaries between Iran and Oman and the narrow shipping lanes that are vital for global energy supply. I served in The Sultanate of Oman’s Land Forces and also took part in the operations conducted by The Sultanate of Oman’s Air force, Navy and Coast Guard almost on a daily basis while I was stationed at Al-KHASAB air base.
My Unit Hq PENSEC is responsible for the security of the Musandam Peninsula and also safeguard Oman’s territorial waters. We keep a 24 hours watch on all the vessels that transit through the Strait of Hormuz and provide navigational guidance and assistance as needed. Apart from keeping this vigil and monitoring the activity in the narrow shipping lanes, we regularly patrol all the coastal villages and contact the residents on a regular basis and gather information about any possible cross border infiltration. I used to make my trips using a variety of modes of transportation that included boats, smaller naval vessels, helicopters and land rovers. There are very few roads and the terrain is rocky and very rough. The villages are literally cut off from the rest of the country. Oman’s Ministry of Health runs clinics and hospitals at places like Khasab and Bukha and the smaller village communities have no such facilities and I have not noticed even grocery stores as the places are remote and inaccessible. I made a very dramatic impact upon the Village Patrolling operations in Musandam Peninsula and successfully redirected the military security and intelligence operation to provide assistance to the villagers.
I used to spend my time talking to the residents, provide free medicine and arrange free helicopter trips to obtain hospital care in Khasab. Many of them needed dental treatment and were not able to visit a dentist. I could use the military helicopters to take them to the dentist and bring them back to their homes at the end of their appointments. During all of my trips, women, children, the elderly and others used to come out of their dwellings and line up to converse with me. To my utter surprise, sometimes I used to meet women from Hyderabad, India who had married Omani citizens. During my journeys, I used to get a very clear view of the coastline of Iran and I was told that many villagers regularly do their shopping at Bandar-e-Abbas of Iran.
IRAN – A MISSED OPPORTUNITY?
Before I moved to OMAN in January 1984, I made an attempt to find employment in Iran. I visited the beautiful Iranian Consulate in Hyderabad, India. Several of my friends who were then serving in the Medical and Health Services of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, had been to Iran on 5 years deputation, gave me a very good account of their service conditions and experience in Iran. I was looking for an opportunity to serve in the Iranian Armed Forces and was not really keen to take up a job with their Ministry of Health. Simultaneously, I found this opportunity in Oman to serve as an Officer with a good contract from their Ministry of Defense. Interestingly, I had again gone to the Iranian Embassy in Muscat, Oman in July, 1986 looking for an opportunity to live in Iran. I met with their senior officials who received me with great courtesy. Very regretfully, they claimed that their hands are tied and they could not give me the type of Visa I wanted. However, they sincerely appreciated my desire to work and live in Iran. If God is willing, may be I would get a third chance to knock on the doors of some Iranian Embassy. When I look back into our history, the story of Aryan Migration to Iran interests me a lot and I also recognize that Persian was the Court language during the long rule by Mughals (Moguls) and I love listening to ‘ghazals’, the lyrics composed in the Indian language Urdu which is enriched with the ideas and thoughts that are expressed in the Persian language.