India and Egypt, founders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Wednesday decided to elevate their ties to the level of a “strategic partnership”, thereby giving centre stage to the defence and security aspect of their bilateral relationship. Welcoming the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, to India as the Chief Guest of Republic Day, Prime Minister Modi said both sides have decided to upgrade their bilateral ties to “strategic partnership”.”At one side of the Arabian Sea is India and on the other side is Egypt.
Strategic cooperation between the two countries will help in promoting peace and prosperity in the entire region. So in today’s meeting, President Sisi and I decided to elevate our bilateral partnership to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’…We have decided that under the India-Egypt Strategic Partnership, we will develop a long-term framework of greater cooperation in political, security, economic and scientific fields,” PM Modi said Wednesday.
On the eve of Republic Day celebrations, PM Modi and Sisi held a bilateral summit. This is President Sisi’s third visit to India. Before this, he visited New Delhi in October 2015 and September 2016.
“In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in joint exercises and capacity building between our armies. We have also decided in today’s meeting to further strengthen cooperation between our defence industries, and enhance the exchange of information and intelligence related to counter-terrorism,” said PM Modi.
PM Modi has also invited Egypt as a “guest country” for the upcoming G20 Summit. India is the current G20 chair. President Sisi, in his remarks said, “Cooperation in the field of defense was on the agenda of today’s talks. Strengthening cooperation in that field is the best evidence of our common will to usher-in a strategic relationship between the two countries.”
“We affirmed our interest to continue coordination, joint exercises, and exchange of experiences, and to explore broader horizons to foster closer cooperation in that field, including co-manufacturing,” he added. President Sisi is the first ever leader of Egypt to be invited as the chief guest of India’s Republic Day celebrations. During their talks, both the leaders also gave focus to counterterrorism and confronting extremist ideology.
“We also tackled the best ways to combat terrorism and confront extremist ideology. We share a common perspective in this regard, namely that joint cooperation will help eliminate violence because the spread of violence, terrorism and extremist ideology represents a serious threat not only to our two countries, but also to all countries around the world,” the Egyptian President said.
According to a readout by the Office of the Egyptian President, PM Modi “expressed his country’s great appreciation for the President and his wise leadership that maintained security and stability in Egypt after incidents of chaos and violence in the aftermath of what was known as the Arab Spring.” Modi said both leaders have agreed to enhance the exchange of information and intelligence related to counter-terrorism.
Egypt Seeks Investment From India
Egypt, which is reeling under such a massive economic crisis that even eggs have become an item of luxury and critics are talking of another uprising there by the people, sought investments from India.
Addressing a CEOs roundtable in New Delhi, which was also attended by the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Sisi tried to hard sell Egypt even as he urged captains of Indian industry to invest in the development of the Suez Canal area, which includes a number of major industrial and logistic zones.
“This provides promising opportunities for Indian companies wishing to take advantage of Egypt’s strategic location as a center for production and re-export of products to various countries, many of which are linked to Egypt by free trade agreements, particularly in the Arab region and Africa,” said a statement issued by the President’s office.
PM Modi said both sides have decided to increase their two-way trade to $12 billion in the next five years. “Today, we have held extensive discussions on strengthening the food and pharma supply chains affected by the COVID and the Ukraine conflict. We also agreed on the need to increase mutual investment and trade in these areas,” said Modi.
India and Egypt on Wednesday signed five MoUs Wednesday in the areas of cyber security, IT and information and broadcasting among others. India and Egypt conceptualised the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) along with Yugoslavia.
The NAM, which was seen as a group of neutral countries, took shape primarily due to the close friendship between India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.Last week, Egyptian Ambassador to India Wael Mohamed Awad Hamed said, the relationship between Modi and Sisi will “go beyond” the friendship between Nehru and Nasser.