Next week Egypt President Abdel Fattah El Sisi starts his visit to India. This will be his first as the Chief Guest on Republic Day 2023. The Egyptian leader’s third visit to India is expected to further deepen the time-tested partnership and to further strengthen bilateral ties with India. At the end of bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Jan 25, 2023, at least half a dozen MoUs are expected to be inked and this will be followed by a joint statement by the two leaders.
Agenda in New Delhi
He will attend the celebrations on Jan 26, 2023 and will also interact with the industry representatives. Bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest will be discussed between the two leaders, the MEA has said in an official statement issued on Saturday (Jan 21, 2023). Adding that the African leader is coming with a high-level delegation which has five ministers and several senior officials.
Financial Express Online has reported recently that a 180 member strong military delegation which has already arrived in New Delhi will be marching down Katavaya Path on Jan 26.
The President of Egypt has been to India twice earlier — in October 2015 to participate in the third India-Africa Forum Summit and then a state visit in September 2016.
On Jan 25 he will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, followed by bilateral level talks and the same evening state banquet in his honour will be hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu.
Also as per the agenda External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will also call on President el-Sisi.
According to MEA the two countries enjoy friendly relations which are marked by deep-rooted people-to-people ties, economic linkages and civilization, and culture. It is based on convergence on regional and global issues, collaboration in the fields of defence & security, education, shared cultural values, and commitment to foster economic growth. Both countries work closely at international and multilateral platforms.
According to the MEA statement more than 50 Indian companies have invested around $3.15 billion in different sectors of the Egyptian economy. These include agri-business, retail, energy, textile, chemicals, garments and textiles.
The trade between the two countries is balanced and hit high in 2021-22 – US$ 7.26 billion. This includes US$3.74 billion Indian exports to Egypt and US$3.52 billion imports from there to India.
As reported earlier for the first time India exported 61,000 tonnes wheat to Egypt and this was sent in tranches. The first tranche left for Cairo in May 2022. The African nation had earlier imposed a ban on importing wheat from India, however following the shortage of supplies due to the Ukraine-Russia war, it removed the ban on imports from India.
Defence & Security
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that Egypt has expressed interest in India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Radar & Missile Technologylike Akash missile system and Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW).
This year Egypt has also been invited to participate in the Aero-India 2023 at Yelahanka Air Force Station, Bengaluru. In fact in 2022 with the defence cooperation deepening between the two sides, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited that country and at the end of that visit an MoU was inked between the two countries to further strengthen ties.
Later this year in September, India will participate in Bright Star exercises. This is a joint training exercise led by the US and Egyptian forces and after a long gap India has been invited to join. The last time it participated in this exercise was in 2000.
For the first time there was a joint exercise between the Special Forces of the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army – `Ex-Cyclone-I’. This is a fortnight long drill which started off in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan on Jan 14, 2023. This was the first exercise between the two sides bringing together the Special Forces. And the focus is on further advanced special forces skills like tactics, techniques & procedures, sharing of information on weapons, Sniping, Combat Free Fall, Reconnaissance, Surveillance & Target Designation, equipment, innovations, tactics, techniques & procedures. The Special Forces contingents from both sides will be undertaking joint planning and drills for operations in a mechanised warfare setting, and also surgical strikes on terrorist camps / hideouts to include sniping of High Value Targets.