President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received Monday the Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj as part of the latter’s two-day visit to Egypt.
According to Indian press, Swaraj’s intentions for the trip are to focus on boosting trade and investment relations between the two nations and a greater role for India in regional security.
Swaraj said in her meeting with Al-Sisi that India is keen to make use of economic and logistical opportunities in Egypt, and enhance cooperation in information technology and pharmaceuticals, according to the president’s spokesperson. The pair also discussed historical relations between the two countries, and regional security, and Swaraj extended an invite for Al-Sisi to visit India.
Swaraj also met with Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Araby, and one of the main topics the two individuals discussed was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, state media reported. Al-Araby said he had told Swaraj that it was important for India to continue supporting the Palestinian cause as the country developed closer ties with Israel. Swaraj responded that increasing relations would not affect India’s stance.
Swaraj is also due to hold talks with her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, and is scheduled to address the Diplomatic Club hosted by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs as part of her visit to Egypt.
Egypt’s Ambassador to India Hatem Tageldin told Indian news service IANS that there are over 50 Indian investors and around $3bn in private Indian investment in Egypt. “Indian companies in the pharmaceutical, IT, infrastructure, energy and auto component sectors are exploring the Egyptian market with the intention of either exporting from India or producing in Egypt,” Tageldin said. India is understood to be Egypt’s the sixth largest trading partner, with trade in the last financial year valued at $4.76bn.
During the inauguration of the New Suez Canal earlier in August, Indian Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, who attended the ceremony, confirmed his country’s readiness to sign memoranda of understanding for cooperation in inland waterways and port development.
The Suez Canal significantly reduces the distance for ships travelling from the Indian Ocean to Europe. The government’s planned developments for the area surrounding the canal also pose opportunities for foreign nations.
According to Al-Ahram newspaper, Indian companies have shown interest in plans for a regional grain logistic hub to be established in Damietta that is intended to store, trade and process grain.
Egypt’s main exports to India include crude oil and petroleum products, raw cotton and other raw materials and chemicals. India’s main exports to Egypt include meat, fabrics, machinery, pharmaceuticals and traditional exports, including tea, tobacco and lentils.