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Thu 31 Mar 2016 02:05 PM

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UK seeks permanent army training base in Oman

UK defence minister also announces $140m port joint venture between Britain and Oman

UK seeks permanent army training base in Oman
Secretary for Defence Michael Fallon. (Getty Images)

The UK will look to establish a permanent army training base in Oman, according to defence secretary Michael Fallon.

The British cabinet minister made the announcement during a visit to the sultanate when he confirmed a multi-million JV between British defence company Babcock International and the Oman Drydock Company that will develop naval repair services at the Duqm Port complex and provide engineering work and support to naval vessels, including the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers.

Fallon said the planned UK army base would be staffed by British soldiers to train Omanis.

“We've been conducting land training here, but we have not had a permanent presence. We want to put that onto a more permanent base by establishing a permanent training hub," he told a press conference.

He said the JV, which could be worth over $140 million (£100m), would be a an opportunity for the UK to shape the development of the naval facility to support future carrier capability and wider British maritime needs in the area.

"It's on the Indian Ocean and it would enable our navy to deploy at a greater length across the region and into Asia Pacific. For our navy, like for other navies, of course, it offers a repair and maintenance facility and a dry dock of which there is no equal,” Fallon said.

Britain's strategic defence review, which was released late last year, called for a more permanent British presence in the Gulf.

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