Singh to visit Egypt. LCA, maritime security to be discussed | The Financial Express

Rajnath Singh to visit Egypt; LCA, maritime security to be discussed

The visit to Egypt comes close on the heels of the recently concluded Air Force drill between the two sides and the visit will help to further consolidate the special friendship between the two sides.

Rajnath Singh to visit Egypt; LCA, maritime security to be discussed
"India's actions are guided by the very essence of human equality and dignity, which is a part of our ancient ethos and its strong moral foundations" singh said. (file)

To deepen military ties as well as explore new initiatives to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, defence minister Rajnath Singh is all set to travel to Egypt.

Starting Sunday the minister will be on a three day visit during which a MoU is on the agenda to be signed which is expected to provide further impetus to the defence cooperation between the two countries.

Besides meeting with his counterpart, the defence minister is scheduled to call on the top leadership of the country, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The visit to Egypt comes close on the heels of the recently concluded Air Force drill between the two sides and the visit will help to further consolidate the special friendship between the two sides.

The minister announced on social media that he is leaving on Sunday on a three day visit. This was followed by an official statement from the Ministry of Defence

Also Read: Rajnath Singh likely to focus on strengthening defence cooperation between Indian and Egypt 

In Cairo, the minister will have discussions with his counterpart General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki and the agenda would focus on identifying new avenues of strengthening the military-to-military engagement between the two countries. And also to discuss furthering cooperation between the defence industries of India and Egypt.

LCA

The two sides are expected to talk about Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’. Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the Arab nation is looking to new fighters to diversify its fleet for its Air Force. It has already ordered French Mirage, Russia’s Su-35s as well as Lockheed Martin’s F-16s.

The first time the Egyptian side saw India’s LCA was at an air show in Dubai last year. And since then there have been several rounds of talks between the two sides.

Also Read: India working towards deeper cooperation with Egypt; Builds military-to-military cooperation

Importance of Egypt

In a shifting global security landscape, India is keeping its geopolitical options open and is working with Cairo to further deepen maritime security and defence.

Because of its unique location, it has an advantage as it lies at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. And what is most important is the fact that most critical sea lines of communication are passing through the Red Sea. These lines through the country’s Suez Canal are going into the Mediterranean.

For a month-long Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) at Cairo West Air Base, Indian Air Force had sent a contingent in June to participate. The programme took place at the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Weapon School in that country. And from IAF there were three Su-30 MKI aircraft deployed which participated in the programme and two C-17 transport aircraft were used for moving the contingent.

According to a US based Military Markets Analyst, Daniel Darling, the Middle East is vital to India’s energy supplies. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE are the main power broker Arab states. These countries play a very important role in ensuring open sea lines of communication.

Defence Exports

Since India is focusing more on Defence Exports to expand its basket, it has been exploring the markets in all Africa, Middle East, and SouthEast Asia.

There have been several high level military visits from Egypt including a delegation of Egyptian Air Force led by their Air Chief Mahmoud Foaad Abd El-Gawad. This was followed by Lt General Mohamed Abbas Helmy, Commander-in-Chief Egyptian Air Force and he called on Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff.

The focus was on enhancing bilateral military to military cooperation as well as engagement with the defence industries for import of various platforms and weapons.

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