India, Egypt share common political understanding and long cooperation history: Indian ambassador

Reham El-Adawi , Monday 29 Jan 2024

Indian Ambassador to Egypt Ajit Gupte has praised the close political understanding and long history of cooperation in regional and global issues between Egypt and India, in celebration of the 75th Republic Day of India at Cairo.

India embassy
(L-R) Indian ambassador Ajit Gupte and his wife, Minister of Supply Ali El-Moseilhy, Minister of Communications Amr Talaat. Photo: India embassy

 

Ambassador Gupte and his wife hosted, at the Conrad Hotel overlooking the Nile, on 25 January a lavished reception party to celebrate the 75th Republic Day of India.

A bevvy of luminaries and senior state officials attended the celebration, including Amr Talaat, minister of communications and information technology, Ali Moselhi, minister of supply and internal trade, Ambassador Mohamed El-Orabi, chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, and Mohamed Hegazi, president of Egypt-India Friendship Association and former ambassador of Egypt in India.  

"It gives me immense pleasure to welcome so many ministers from Egypt and several other dignitaries on the occasion of India’s 75th Republic Day. As we celebrate yet another milestone in India’s journey as a Republic, it is a reminder of the values and principles on which India was built,” Gupte said during the celebration.

“India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have always enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times. Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BC. In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and Saad Zaghloul shared common goals on the independence of their countries. The exceptionally close friendship between President Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru led to a Friendship Treaty between the two countries in 1955,” he stated.

“India and Egypt share close political understanding, based on a long history of interaction and close cooperation in bilateral, regional, and global issues. Both countries, inspired by their civilizational values, espoused the ideals of the right to self-determination, anti-colonialism, national independence, and peaceful co-existence that were indeed the founding principles of the Non-Aligned Movement," Gupte clarified in his long speech on Egypt-India deep relationship.

Thriving political leadership in past two years
 

"The political leadership of both countries has consistently nurtured friendship between our two countries. Although there was a brief gap in physical interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ministerial visits resumed with the visit of India’s Minister of Defense Shri Rajnath Singh to Egypt on 18-21 September 2022. This was soon followed by the visit of External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar to Egypt on 14-16 October 2022. Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav also led a senior Indian delegation for COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2022. All these ministerial visits laid the foundation for the unprecedented momentum in India-Egypt bilateral relations witnessed in 2023," added Gupte.  

"I now take this opportunity to share with you some glimpses of India-Egypt relations in the year just gone. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi paid his second state visit to India on 24-27 January 2023 as the Chief Guest for India’s 74th Republic Day celebrations. This was the first time that the president of Egypt was visiting India as Chief Guest for Republic Day,” he noted.

“Within a short span of less than 6 months, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid his first-ever state visit to Egypt on 24-25 June 2023. Prime Minister Modi and President El-Sisi discussed ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation as envisioned in the ‘Strategic Partnership Agreement’ signed during the visit. One of the highlights of the visit was the bestowal of Egypt’s highest civilian honour, the “Order of the Nile” on PM Modi by President El-Sisi,” he continued.

“President El-Sisi visited India for the second time in 2023 to participate in the ‘G20 New Delhi Summit’ on 9-10 September 2023. Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also participated virtually in the ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’, organized by India on 17 November 2023. The year 2023 was very active, as it witnessed about 11 ministerial visits from Egypt to India," Gupte clarified.

Developed commerce and trade
 

"In the field of commerce and trade, Egypt has traditionally been one of the most important trading partners of India in Africa. Our bilateral trade has grown more than five times in the last ten years. The bilateral trade expanded by 75% to record an all-time high of $7.26 billion in FY2021-22. Our bilateral trade was approximately $6 bn during FY2022-23, thereby making India Egypt’s sixth largest trading partner,” Gupte said.

“Around 50 Indian companies have a combined investment exceeding $3.4 billion in Egypt. Indian companies are operating in all major sectors of the Egyptian economy, and several others are planning new investments, including new areas such as Green Hydrogen. Technical cooperation and assistance have traditionally been a major part of our bilateral relationship. Since 2000, over 1600 Egyptian officials have benefited from ITEC and other programs like ICCR and IAFS scholarships,” he clarified.

“I am happy to note that we could re-convene some mechanisms for bilateral institutional dialogue like Foreign Office Consultation, Joint Trade Committee, Joint Business Council and several JWGs," the Indian ambassador expatiated a little further.

Expansion in defense cooperation
 

"Our defense cooperation has expanded significantly in the last two years, with 45 defense delegations from India having visited Egypt. Armed Forces from both countries have participated in joint defense exercises with growing frequency. Since 2021, our Air Forces have conducted three joint exercises, which is unprecedented,” Gupte noted.

“India participated for the first time in Egypt’s Biannual Multinational Military Exercise ‘Bright Star-23’ in September 2023 with contingents from Indian Air Force, Army, and Navy. It was after many decades that a contingent from the Indian Army visited Egypt to participate in a joint exercise. During the last couple of years, Indian Navy ships have made 17 port calls and conducted ‘PASSEX’ with the Egyptian Navy,” the Indian ambassador added.

Flourishing educational and cultural exchange
 

"The Indian diaspora of about 4000 has significantly contributed to the Egyptian economy and is mostly involved in trade and manufacturing. About 976 Indian students are studying at Al-Azhar University, Ain Shams Medical University, and Cairo University,” Gupte said.

“The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) has been promoting cultural cooperation between the two countries through regular activities such as Hindi, Urdu, and Yoga and Kathak classes; seminars; film shows; exhibitions and participation in local cultural activities. MACIC has been organizing the ‘Glimpses of India’ painting competition for Egyptian children for the last 25 years. I am happy to share that the 27th edition of the event was held in December 2023, across seven governorates in Egypt with the participation of over 11,500 students," he explained.

"Today, India is filled with self-confidence and poised to emerge as the third largest economy in a few years and the leading player in many key technologies. I call upon all our Egyptian friends to come and be part of this journey for the benefit of the people of both our countries," Gupte concluded.

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