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Rekindling civilisational link, PM Modi lands in Cairo to begin first visit to Egypt

Egypt's PM Mostafa Madbouly of Egypt receives Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Cairo airport on Saturday (Image courtesy: PIB)

Hours after wrapping up a momentous visit to the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set foot in Cairo Saturday evening for his first State visit to Egypt at the invitation of the Arab Republic’s President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi.

PM Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome and a Guard of Honour upon arrival. In a special gesture, Egypt’s PM Mostafa Madbouly of Egypt received PM Modi at the airport.

“I thank Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly for the special gesture of welcoming me at the airport. May India-Egypt ties flourish and benefit the people of our nations,” tweeted PM Modi.

After coming to power in 2014, the closest PM Modi came to visiting the most populous Arab state was in March 2020 but the trip had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am confident this visit will strengthen India’s ties with Egypt. I look forward to talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and attending other programmes,” he added.

This would also be the first official bilateral visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Egypt since 1997.

Immediately after reaching Cairo, PM Modi is scheduled to interact with a select grouping of high-level ministers that the President of Egypt had constituted after his return from India, earlier this year.

He will then meet a section of the small Indian community in the country and also some of the prominent personalities of the country.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi will begin the day with a visit to the 11th-century Al-Hakim mosque which was refurbished and renovated by the Bohra community.

It will be followed by a visit to the Heliopolis War Grave Cemetery to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice fighting for Egypt during the First World War.

PM Modi and Sisi will then have an official engagement at the Egyptian Presidency, including bilateral talks and the signing of various MoUs and agreements.

Prime Minister Modi’s long-awaited visit to Egypt, a regional powerhouse and one of India’s largest trading partners in Africa, comes at a time when both countries continue to put an age-old partnership between two of the world’s oldest civilizations on a new trajectory.

Sisi has made three visits to New Delhi – in October 2015 to participate in the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit, in September 2016 on a State Visit, and as the Chief Guest on India’s 74th Republic Day, earlier this year when both nations upgraded relations to the strategic level.

Egypt has also been invited as a ‘Guest Country’ during India’s ongoing Presidency of G-20.

PM Modi’s visit to Egypt spotlights the warm and friendly relations between the two countries which are marked by civilizational, cultural, and economic linkages and deep-rooted people-to-people ties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in New Delhi, earlier this year (Image courtesy: PIB)

The multifaceted relationship is based on shared cultural values, commitment to foster economic growth, collaboration in the fields of defence and security and convergence on regional and global issues. The two countries also work closely on multilateral and international platforms.

“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,” said PM Modi after discussions with Sisi, hours before a military contingent from Egyptian Army marched down the Kartavya Path for the first time during this year’s Republic Day parade.

During their meeting in New Delhi, which included a closed session of talks, both leaders spotlighted that while there has been a significant increase in joint exercise training and capacity building between both armies over the last few years, there is a need to further strengthen cooperation between the defence industries and enhance the exchange of information and intelligence related to counter-terrorism.

The official spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency stated that during the closed session of talks, PM Modi expressed great appreciation for President Sisi and his wise leadership that maintained security and stability in Egypt after the chaotic events in the region, including the violence during what was known as the Arab Spring.

Also Read: Army chief heads to Egypt in fresh military outreach to Africa, joint manufacturing also on cards

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, as India continuously grows its capability to manufacture advanced cutting-edge technologies and systems in the defence sector under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Egypt is one of the several countries which has maintained its interest in acquiring made-in-India Tejas fighter aircraft for its air force.

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

Sisi has repeatedly stated that his country takes pride in the close historical ties it has with India and aspires to activate the partnership “commensurate with their capabilities in all fields”.

Indian companies have shown 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, northwest of the Red Sea.

Also Read: Suez Canal region on radar of Indian investors as PM Modi begins maiden Egypt visit today

A delegation led by the SCZONE Chairman Waleid Gamal Eldien was in New Delhi earlier this week holding discussions on India-Egypt economic engagement, especially potential investment opportunities in diverse areas like renewable energy, green hydrogen and infrastructure.

Given its strategic location, Egypt has an ambitious plan to transform the country into a global logistical and commercial centre by linking the Red and Mediterranean seas through mega industrial and logistical zones.

Located around the main international maritime route of the Suez Canal passageway, which connects Europe, East and North Africa via the Suez Canal with Asia passing through the Arabian Gulf serving the majority of global trade, SCZONE aims to be one of the main logistics hubs in the region.

While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of Environment Bhupender Yadav have travelled to Egypt over the past few months, several ministers from the Egyptian government have also visited India in the recent past besides President Sisi.

Last month, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, was in India for six days at the invitation of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to deepen cultural links between the two countries.

Also Read: India and Egypt ink strategic partnership — defence, counter-terrorism key areas in focus