India is trying to strengthen its economic and strategic hold in the countries of the Middle East. On the occasion of Republic Day, India has invited the President of Egypt, the most populous country in the Middle East, as the chief guest. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the first President of Egypt to attend the Republic Day celebrations. The relations between India and Egypt have been very old, but in the last few decades, the relations between the two countries had weakened, which is now being tried to be strengthened again.
Diplomatic relations between India and Egypt will complete 75 years this year. India’s Ambassador to Egypt Ajit Gupte has also issued a statement talking about the historical relations between the two countries. The ambassador said that the visit of the President of Egypt to India would mark a new beginning in the bilateral relations between the two countries. He said that both the countries have become free by breaking the shackles of colonialism and the relations of friendship between the two have been going on since historical times.
The Indian Ambassador said, ‘India and Egypt, the oldest civilizations of the world, have been close friends for many centuries. The edicts of the Indian emperor Ashoka refer to relations with Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy II.
India-Egypt relations historical
India and Egypt have had very old relations. In the 60s, the friendship between the two countries was in its golden age. The friendship between former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was very popular in those days. It was because of this friendship between the two that a Friendship Treaty was signed between India and Egypt in 1955. At the same time, Nehru, along with his friend Nasir, had laid the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement.
This movement helped those countries to remain neutral, which were not in the court of any one group like America and Russia. Nehru understood Egypt very well and Nasser respected him a lot for this.
However, in later years, the friendship between Egypt and India weakened. But now India has started trying to revive its historical friendship with Egypt.
How important is Egypt to India?
Geographically, Egypt is very important for India. Egypt holds an important position in the Middle East. Mohammad Soliman, director of the Strategic Technology and Cyber Security Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, told Firstpost that the relationship between the two countries is bound to move forward. Egypt has an important role in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Africa and West Asia, due to which it becomes very important for India.
Especially Egypt’s Suez Canal is more important for India which is the most popular trade route between Asia and Europe. The Suez Canal, which comes under the jurisdiction of Egypt, connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Egypt has also become very close to gas and oil producing countries UAE and Saudi Arabia due to which its influence is increasing in the Mediterranean Sea as well. India wants to make its strategic advantage in West Asia and Africa, so its friendship with Egypt has become necessary. If the friendship between India and Egypt flourishes, there will be a big strategic change in West Asia and Africa.
growing trade between the two countries
In the last few years, the trade between India and Egypt has increased to a record level. In 2021-22, bilateral trade between the countries increased by 75 percent to reach a record high of $ 7.26 billion. Both countries have increased their cooperation in various fields like agriculture, energy, defence, security, textiles.
The strong personal relationship between Prime Minister Modi and President Sisi has served to enhance cooperation between India and Egypt. The two leaders have met several times and talk regularly over the telephone, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic and the Russo-Ukraine war, trade relations between the two countries saw huge progress. Egypt bought 50 thousand covid vaccine from India in 2021. When India was suffering from the second wave of Kovid, Egypt sent 30 tons of medical supplies and three lakh doses of antiviral Remdesivir injection to India.
Egypt is the biggest buyer of wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but when the war broke out between the two countries, imports were interrupted. India helped Egypt at such a time. In May 2022, India sent a consignment of 61,500 metric tonnes of wheat to Egypt. India had banned exports in view of the domestic shortage of wheat, despite this, it continued to send wheat consignments to Egypt.
About 50 Indian companies have set up chemical, energy, and chemical industries in Egypt. Has invested more than 3.2 billion dollars in automobile etc. sectors.
Security cooperation between India and Egypt is also increasing. Egypt has shown interest in buying India’s indigenous ‘Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft. It is being told that its purchase can be stamped during CC’s visit to India. For the first time in 2021, the Air Force of both the countries jointly conducted a military exercise ‘Desert Warrior’. In June 2022 also, a team of Air Force went to Egypt to participate in the military exercise. Three Su-30 fighter aircraft and two C-17 transport aircraft of India took part in this exercise.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh had visited Egypt in September 2022. During this visit, India and Egypt signed an MoU to strengthen defense cooperation. In October 2022, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar made his first visit to Egypt as Foreign Minister. He met President Sisi and other senior Egyptian officials and discussed issues of mutual interest to the two countries.
India has made a lot of progress in recent years in the field of defense production. India is investing in Egypt in the field of defense production and manufacturing. This has increased the possibility of Indian defense products getting a new market in West Asia and Africa.
Mutual benefit to both countries from cooperation
India and Egypt are cooperating together in every field, due to which both the countries are getting mutual benefit. Defense products are going to benefit both the countries. India will get a new market from this and Egypt will get advanced defense equipment. India is investing in many sectors of Egypt, this will increase its foreign exchange reserves. Egypt is currently facing an economic crisis and there is a huge shortage of dollars in the country. In such a situation, India’s investment will help him.