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India-Egypt relations

  • IASbaba
  • January 24, 2023
  • 0
Science and Technology
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Context:

  • India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times. Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
  • President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, will arrive in New Delhi on a three-day visit to India and will be the Chief Guest on India’s 74th Republic Day.
  • India and Egypt are celebrating 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations this year and Egypt has also been invited as a ‘Guest Country’ during India’s Presidency of G-20 in 2022-23.

Bilateral Relations

  • India and Egypt enjoy warm and friendly relations marked by civilizational, cultural, and economic linkages and deep-rooted people-to-people ties.
  • The two countries work closely at multilateral and international platforms.
  • The Egyptian President visited India in October 2015 to participate in the third India Africa Forum Summit and in September 2016 on a State Visit.

Political relations

  • The joint announcement of establishment of diplomatic relations at Ambassadorial level was made in 1947.
  • With regard to covid pandemic, Egypt dispatched three planes with medical supplies to India in 2021.
  • In addition, Embassy of India also signed an agreement to procure 300,000 doses of REMDESEVIR from M/s EVA Pharma, Egypt
  • India-LAS Engagement: The 3rd Meeting of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum took place virtually in 2021.
  • The discussions focused on issues of mutual concern on both regional and international levels, collaboration in the field of diagnostics and treatment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment, energy and environment, agriculture and food security, science and technology, media, human resource development etc
  • Operation Sankalp, which saw the Indian Navy escort oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalated, was a good example of India’s mandate in the region moving up from anti-piracy operations to overt protection of national assets and interests.

Trade

  • Bilateral trade between India and Egypt achieved a record high of 7.26 billion dollars in 2021-22.
  • The trade was fairly balanced, with 3.74 billion Indian exports to Egypt and 3.52 billion imports from Egypt to India.
  • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause

Investment

  • More than 50 Indian companies have invested around 3.15 billion dollars in diverse sectors of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, textile, garment, agri-business, and retail.
  • Egyptian investments in India are to the tune of US$ 37 million which include smart electrometers, car paints, I.T Services, etc.
  • The grants-in-aid projects include: Pan Africa Tele-medicine and Tele-education project in Alexandria University, Solar electrification project in Agaween village and Vocational Training Centre for textile technology in Shoubra, Cairo, which have been completed.

Science and Technology

  • ‘Science & Technology’ cooperation is implemented through biennial Executive Programmes and Scientific Cooperation Programme between CSIR (India) and NRC (Egypt).
  • The first Joint Working Group on Cyber Issues was held in New Delhi in 2016.
  • The 4th Joint Committee Meeting on S&T was held in New Delhi in 2017.
  • The 2nd ISRO-NARSS JWG was held in Cairo in 2017.
  • The India-Egypt Workshops on Agriculture-Biotechnology and Nanotechnology were held in Shillong in 2018 and in Mumbai in 2019 respectively.
  • An IT Centre in Al Azhar University, CEIT, is also operational since February 2019.

Defence

  • Most of the current defence cooperation is determined by Joint Defence Committee (JDC) activities
  • The 8th Joint Defence Committee (JDC) was held in New Delhi in 2018
  • The 9th JDC was held in Cairo from in 2019
  • IAF pilots had trained Egyptian pilots from 1960s until 1984.
  • In the recent past, since 2015, there have been several high-level exchange of visits by defense delegations including the visit of the Minister of Defense of Egypt, General Sedki Sobhi, in 2017 and the visit of Minister of Defense of Indian, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in 2018
  • The first ever joint exercise between the special forces of the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army named “Exercise Cyclone-I” is in progress at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan since January 2023.

Suggestions for future:

  • Economic partnership – Egypt is in economic flux and requires an urgent infusion of capital to avoid any long-term economic distress.
  • Eg Arab Spring, which was backed by people’s anger against economic destitution, cronyism and corruption.
  • Russia’s war on Ukraine – led to a commodity crunch, specifically in the agriculture sector like critical wheat imports – India may come out as a viable alternative
  • Security perspective – An outreach to Egypt is part of its larger construct of a security architecture in West Asia, particularly the Gulf including UAE, arguably the most powerful leader in the region today
  • Energy security is set to become even more precarious over the next few years, India’s naval and aerial military engagements through the mechanism of joint exercises should also see an uptick.
  • Trade cooperation – such as the Suez Canal is critical for India as part of international trade systems.

Way forward

  • India-Egypt ties in their current stage will require time and honing to lead to more concrete strategic posture.
  • The opening with defence exercises is also a good platform to further develop access to fulfil Egypt’s defence requirements.
  • While the entire saga of India wanting to sell its HAL Tejas jets to Egypt was an over-ambitious and unrealistic endeavour, promoting defence along with agriculture, Information Technology, amongst others as areas of cooperation can benefit Cairo as it looks to diversify its economic footprint.

Source: Newsonair

 

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