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From military hardware to green hydrogen — India and Egypt rekindle old romance 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Egyptian Defence Minister General Mohamed Zaki in Cairo last year (File image courtesy: PIB)

Just as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was wrapping up the bilaterals with his Egyptian counterpart Lieutenant-General Muhammad Zaki in Cairo Monday evening, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar got into a huddle with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in faraway New York during a high-level meeting on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly.

Singh and Zaki – who besides being the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces is also the Minister of Defence and Military Production – concluded a fruitful day in India-Egypt defence relations with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of military cooperation.

The Egyptian Defence Ministry said that the MoU included “the most important activities” that the armed forces of the two countries seek to support during the next stage.

India on the other hand described the MoU signing by the two Defence Ministers as a “milestone event” during Singh’s visit, which will pave the way for enhancing defence cooperation “across all sectors” of mutual interest.

The Singh-Zaki meeting, also attended by Egypt’s Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Osama Askar and a number of top officers of the Egyptian and Indian armed forces, dealt with issues of common interest in light of the fields of military cooperation and the transfer and exchange of experiences between the Egyptian and Indian armed forces.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces expressed his pride in the partnership relations between the Egyptian and Indian armed forces in various military fields, stressing the keenness of the General Command of the Armed Forces to increase the bonds of cooperation in various military fields for both friendly countries,” Zaki’s office said in a statement after the meeting.

Rajnath Egypt

India, meanwhile, expressed full appreciation for Egypt’s active role in its regional and international surroundings, hoping that the next phase would witness support for new horizons in the fields of military cooperation for both countries.

Steps to strengthen defence ties, enhance the conduct of joint exercises and exchange personnel for training, especially in the field of counter-insurgency, were also discussed in detail during the bilateral meeting between the two Defence Ministers.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said on Monday that his country takes pride in the close historical ties it has with India and is keen to deepen military and defence ties.

As Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called on him, Sisi expressed the aspiration to activate the partnership between the two countries “commensurate with their capabilities in all fields”.

Ways to enhance military and security cooperation between the two countries, especially with regard to cooperation in joint manufacturing, transfer and localization of technology, with the aim of exploiting the capabilities and infrastructure available in the two countries, as well as cooperation in the field of training, rehabilitation and joint exercises were discussed during Singh’s meeting with the Egyptian President.

Also Read: Egypt proposes joint manufacturing of military hardware with India

Later in the day, Singh took the discussions forward with his Egyptian counterpart agreeing to identify proposals for expanding cooperation between the defence industries of India and Egypt in a time-bound manner.

He also invited Zaki to the India-Africa Defence Dialogue and IOR Defence Ministers’ Conclave, scheduled to be held as part of the 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, next month (October 18-22).

In New York, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry hoped that India’s upcoming G20 Presidency will not only strengthen consultation and coordination mechanisms between the two countries but also contribute to restoring activity in the global economy and ensure that the “negative repercussions of the current international tensions” are contained.

India Egypt
(Image courtesy: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar)

In his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Shoukry also welcomed the Indian companies’ interest in investing in Egypt, especially in the field of green hydrogen production in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) in Ain Sokhna located in the Gulf of Suez, north-west of the Red Sea.

The Egyptian government, quite gung-ho to open investments in green hydrogen in SCZONE, announced last month the signing of seven new MoUs with international companies, which also included Indian energy group ACME, to set up green hydrogen and ammonia production facilities in Sokhna.

“Our bilateral ties are growing strongly in the areas of defence, trade and investments. Cooperation in new initiatives like green hydrogen and ammonia and education sectors will further bolster them,” tweeted Jaishankar after the meeting with Shoukry.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister is also the President-Designate of the UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh this November.

Also Read: Rajnath to visit Egypt, Jaishankar to meet Blinken in Washington