The countries inked five pacts, including an extradition treaty, and agreed to jointly combat terrorism at the end of hold delegation-level talks on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. The pacts were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, who is visiting New Delhi after a quarter century to lay a sound basis for a vibrant strategic partnership with India. Apart from the extradition treaty, pacts on the use of outer space, trade and technical cooperation were signed. An agreement on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports, and another on enhancing cooperation in the fields of health and medicine were also inked.
Leaders of both the sides held productive and fruitful talks on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including terrorism, the intensification of economic ties, food and energy security, the global financial crisis and the peace process in the Middle East.
In a concrete step to transform ties that languished in the 1980s due to Cold War politics, the two emerging economies decided to establish a strategic dialogue at the level of foreign ministers. In a joint press conference with Mubarak, Singh said, The step reflects our desire to upgrade our relations. The visit has opened a new chapter. We have both agreed that all conditions are ripe for transforming relations to correspond to contemporary realities.
We have agreed to make up for lost time and elevate our relations to a level that reflects our mutual strengths and complementarities, the Prime Minister underlined. Our bilateral trade has increased four times in the last five years and now exceeds $3 billion. However, this is still below the potential. We agree more efforts are required. For this, we will expand cooperation in priority areas such as hydrocarbons, information technology, agriculture and biotechnology, Singh said.
The Egyptian leader called for collective action against terrorism and underlined the need for joint action by developed and developing countries to reshape the international economic order in the wake of the meltdown. Appreciating New Delhis support for the Palestinian cause, Mubarak thanked India for its key role in the security of the Middle East.
On the current financial crisis, the two sides expressed concern over the adverse impact of the meltdown, particularly on developing countries, and decided to consult each other on the matter. The visiting leader said the two sides were facing a financial crisis of massive proportions. All countries should address the immediate recessionary pressures and undertake coordinated efforts, he said.