To strengthen the India-Egypt bilateral relations, after a gap of two years, there will be a chief guest for Republic Day celebrations in 2023. At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is coming as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2023.
No foreign dignitary was invited as the Chief Guest in 2021 and 2022 due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
According to an official announcement made by the Ministry of External Affairs over the weekend, this is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest. The formal invitation to President el-Sisi was extended when external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar had visited that country last month.
India & Egypt
This year the two countries are celebrating 75th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations, and the Arab nation has also been invited as a `guest Country’ during India’s presidency of G20 from 2022-23.
Significance of this visit
Indo-Egyptian relations are growing in multiple domains. “Regular political and diplomatic engagements in recent times are based on a shared understanding on various important regional and international issues. Security and defence have emerged as one of the most important areas of bilateral relations with focus on counter-terrorism and defence trade,” explains Md. Muddassir Quamar, Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses.
Adding, “Egypt is a major buyers of weapons and is in the process of rapid military modernization, and India has in recent years put an effort on strengthening its defence manufacturing both for `atmnirbharta’ in meeting its needs and for enhancing defence exports.”
“In this light, it’s significant that President Sisi is going to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations. This could go a long way in further strengthening the Indo-Egyptian relations,” Quamar opines.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier in September that during the meeting between President el-Sisi and defence Minister Rajnath Singh had talked discussed deepening of military ties, focussed more on bilateral engagements especially in the field of counter-insurgency, fight against terrorism, more training of personnel.
Egypt has also expressed interest in indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) `Tejas’ as well as the Light Combat Helicopter both from the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (LCA).
The two countries are keen on deepening maritime cooperation and Egypt is also looking at India for spare parts for its Russian platforms.
In 2022 there have been several level military exchanges, including a month-long joint exercises between the Air Forces of the two countries. In July the Air Force Chief of Egypt Mahmoud Foaad Abd El-Gawad visited New Delhi. And during his meetings with senior leadership of the armed forces he had expressed interest in importing different platforms from India.
It has also been reported last month that Egyptian President el-Sisi had urged India to increase the turnover of trade between the two sides and had also stated that the present revenue was not enough.
During the meeting between Minister Jaishankar and the Egyptian leader referring to the current bilateral trade turnover of around US$ 7.2 billion, said that new ways to increase the trade should be identified.
Due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Egypt faced acute shortage of wheat as it was importing almost 80 percent from these countries. And it was earlier this year in April, ending a long standing non-tariff barrier that India was added to the list of accredited countries to supply wheat to Egypt.
After a long gap or the first year ever Egypt reached out to India to buy wheat. Though no contract had been signed between the two sides, Egypt had agreed to buy around 500,000 tonnes of wheat from India.