In his first bilateral visit to Egypt, external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar is expected to take stock of the bilateral, regional and global issues. And how to move forward including the seminal UN reforms where both countries have high stakes.
This two day visit starting Oct 15-16 is also about stock taking since the 2016 visit of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to New Delhi. The visit comes close on the heels of the recent visit of defence minister Rajnath Singh to that country where he had also called on President Sisi. Because of the shift in global politics the two countries are keen to strengthen cooperation in maritime security, fight against terrorism, co-production of military platforms, space cooperation as well as defence and security. The two countries are also keen on deepening ties in trade and investment, food security as well as people to people connect.
MEA announces the agenda
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) the minister is going there at the invitation of his counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt.
Also on the agenda of his visit is interactions with the Indian community including students based there, as well as addressing a gathering of Egyptian and Indian business community.
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During the recently concluded defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Importance of Egypt
“Both countries have been key partners during the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and have been a pivot for India’s approach to the Arab world as well as to Africa, especially North Africa,” says Ambassador Anil Triguynat.
The former diplomat tells Financial Express Online that Egypt is also important for India’s fertilizer security as it ensures Cairo’s food security. “As the global dynamic changes, newer areas of strategic cooperation are being identified,” Amb Triguynat says.
A delegation is likely to participate in the forthcoming India-Africa Defence Dialogue and IOR Defence Ministers’ Conclave which will take place on the sidelines of the DefExpo next week in Gandhinagar.
View of a Diplomat
As India and Egypt celebrate 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations they will be recounting and rebuilding on the continued historic relationship with newer dimensions added to it.
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Sharing his views, Amb Triguynat says “Egypt will fit well for India’s outreach to embattled Libya and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Defence and security collaboration have acquired a new strategic significance with enhanced exchanges, joint exercises topped by the visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.”
“Recently Indian and Egyptian companies signed deals worth US $8bn in keeping with India’s Hydrogen mission. More than 50 Indian companies are based in Egypt. And India has invited Egypt as a ‘Guest Country’ for the G20 Summit in 2023. Also the Arab nation will also be hosting COP 27 in which India will be an integral partner for the fight against climate change.”
“It will be recalled that after the revolution in that country, President Morsi had visited New Delhi. As such it is quite a rounded relationship between two major regional powers. It might even be a precursor to a visit by PM Modi to Egypt,” Amb Trigunayat said.
According to the MEA, Egypt has been India’s largest trading partner in Africa. Therefore during the visit starting tomorrow the focus is also going to be on bilateral trade, investments and commerce.
The bilateral trade figures for FY 2021-22 shared by MEA indicate that trade touched a record high at US$ 7.26 billion. Investment from India to that country exceeds US$ 3.15 billion.
More than 50 Indian companies are present there and they are from various sectors including energy, infrastructure, retail, manufacturing, chemicals, among others.