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India – Egypt Relations

Context

  • According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be the keynote speaker at the Republic Day celebration in January 2023.
    • The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day for the first time.
  • Sisi will be the first such visitor since 2020, as guests scheduled for 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Relevance

GS Paper 2- International relations, Bilateral relations

Mains Question

India must reconsider its strategic convergence with the United States, as the United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East affects India’s interests. Comment. (250 words)


Egypt – India Background of Bilateral Relationship:

  • India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have had a long history of close contact.
  • The edicts of Ashoka refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy II.
  • In modern times, the countries’ relationship flourished under President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, who were close friends; both countries signed a Friendship Treaty in 1955.
  • Relations Political
  • Both countries have worked closely together in multilateral fora and are founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • The year 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of India-Egypt diplomatic relations.
  • Egypt has been invited to be a “Guest Country” during India’s G20 presidency in 2022-23.

Bilateral trade

• Economic Relations

  • Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important African trading partners.
  • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement, which is based on the Most Favored Nation clause, has been in effect since March 1978.
  • Bilateral trade increased rapidly in 2021-22, totaling 7.26 billion, a 75% increase over FY 2020-21.
  • During this period, India’s exports to Egypt totaled US$ 3.74 billion, a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21.
  • At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India increased by 86% to US$ 3.52 billion.
  • During this time, India was Egypt’s third largest export market, sixth largest trading partner, and seventh largest exporter to Egypt.
    • Investment o Over 50 Indian companies have invested in various sectors in Egypt, totaling more than US$ 3.15 billion.
  • Egypt signed an agreement with India’s ReNew Power in July 2022 to build a clean hydrogen facility in the Suez Canal Economic Zone for $8 billion.
  • The Indian company, which is backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Goldman Sachs, plans to produce 2,20,000 tonnes of clean fuel per year at the Egyptian facility.
  • Egyptian investments in India total US$ 37 million.
    • Grant-in-aid projects include: o a Pan-Africa Telemedicine and Tele-education project at Alexandria University, o a Solar electrification project in Agaween village, and o a Vocational Training Centre for textile technology in Shoubra, Cairo.

India’s wheat export

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has threatened Egypt’s wheat supply, which is 80% imported from Russia and Ukraine.
  • Egypt announced the addition of India to the list of accredited countries that can supply wheat to Egypt in April 2022, putting an end to a long-pending Non-Tariff Barrier.
  • Despite the fact that India’s ban on wheat exports made the shipment difficult to complete, India cleared an initial shipment of 61,500 metric tonnes of wheat for Egypt in May 2022.

Courses in Defense Relations

  • Both sides regularly offer courses in which Egyptian officers are trained in India and Indian defence officers are trained in Egypt.
    • Exercises o In March 2019, Egypt took part in the Multinational Training Exercise for Friendly African Countries in Pune.
  • Dessert Warrior, the first IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, was held in October 2021.
  • The first-ever Special Forces exercise “Cyclone 1” between India and Egypt, scheduled for January 2022 in Jodhpur, has been postponed.
    • Egypt has expressed interest in acquiring Indian-made arms, including the Akash missile systems capable of intercepting hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones, and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25 kilometres.

Indian community-Diaspora

  • The Indian community in Egypt currently numbers around 3200 people, the majority of whom live in Cairo.
  • There are also a few families in Alexandria, Port Said, and Ismailia.
  • Around 400 Indian students study in Egypt, the majority at Al Azhar University (around 275 students), with the remainder at Ain Shams Medical University (around 80 students) and Cairo University.

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