In Cairo, Modi and El-Sisi ink ‘Strategic Partnership’ pact as two nations move towards achieving $12 billion bilateral trade target in five years
India and Egypt on Sunday reviewed the entire spectrum of their bilateral ties in Cairo during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The two leaders focused on trade and investment, Defence and security, renewable energy, cultural, and people-to-people ties. They also signed a pact to elevate the bilateral relationship to a ‘Strategic Partnership.’
“An agreement to elevate the bilateral relationship to a ‘Strategic Partnership’ was signed by the leaders”, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted. “Three MoUs in the fields of Agriculture, Archaeology and Antiquities and Competition Law were also signed”, he added.
On Saturday, Modi met his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly and held a roundtable meeting in Cairo. Modi said
“This is a remarkable year for our shared relations. At the beginning of this year, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi visited India as a chief guest in the Republic Day celebration, where we signed an agreement to elevate our bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.”
Modi added that Egypt and India were swiftly moving towards achieving the $12 billion target in bilateral trade within the next five years. He added that in the past six months alone, Indian companies have invested around $170 million in Egypt.
He also emphasised that the increasing cooperation between the two sides in the field of renewable energy reflects a joint commitment to environmental protection. Modi also said many Indian companies are investing in green hydrogen and electric vehicles.
The Egyptian Prime Minister said the growing trade exchange between the two countries, which reached $7 billion in 2022, shows real potential in increasing trade volume in the coming five years to $12 billion, as agreed upon during the Joint Trade Committee meeting held in July 2022. He praised current levels of Indian investments in Egypt, which stand at $3.5 billion, adding that the country is ready to receive more Indian capital.
Madbouly cited agreements signed between the two sides during the recent visit by officials from the Suez Canal Economic Zone Authority to India last week as an example of promising growth for Indian investments in Egypt and the region.
He stressed Egypt’s keenness on developing a strategic relationship between the two countries in the field of strategic commodities, expressing interest that India would become a major supplier of wheat to Egypt. It also wants more cooperation with India in the fields of healthcare and pharmaceutical production.
The Egyptian Government is keen on providing Indian companies with all the facilities needed to implement and expand their investments in the country, he stressed.
EgyptAir, the country’s national carrier, is set to launch direct flights between Cairo and New Delhi, in addition to existing flights between Cairo and Mumbai, as a step to boost air travel between the two countries, Madbouly said.
India is keen to further expand ties with Egypt, a key player in the politics of both the Arab world as well as Africa. It is also seen as a major gateway to markets in Africa and Europe.
Egypt is traditionally one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent. More than 450 Indian companies are registered in Egypt, of which around 50 are active in various sectors with a combined investment exceeding $3 billion, according to official data.
The Defence and strategic ties between India and Egypt are on an upswing in the last few years. The Indian and Egyptian Armies conducted the first-ever joint exercise in January this year.
Egypt has already shown interest in procuring Tejas light combat aircraft, radars, military helicopters, and other platforms from India.
In July last year, the IAF participated in a month-long tactical leadership programme in Egypt with three Su-30 MKI jets and two C-17 transport aircraft. In September, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid a three-day visit to Egypt.