India-Egypt Relations

Context:  The first time an Egyptian President (Abdel Fattah El-Sisi) has been invited as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations in India. History of Relationships:
  • The history of contact between India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilisations, can be traced back to at least the time of Emperor Ashoka.
  • Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
  • In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and the Egyptian revolutionary Saad Zaghloul shared the common goal of independence from British colonial rule.
  • The diplomatic relations at Ambassadorial level was made on 18 August 1947.
  • India’s PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser signed the Friendship Treaty between the two countries, and they were key to forming the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM in 1961) along with Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito.
The Recent Engagements:
  • During this year’s meeting, both India and Egypt agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a “strategic partnership”.
  • The strategic partnership will have broadly four elements: political, defence, and security; economic engagement; scientific and academic collaboration; cultural and people-to-people contacts.
  • India has invited Egypt as a special guest for the G-20 summit.
  • Exercise Cyclone-I – first ever exercise between Indian Army and Egyptian Army was conducted recently.
  • India and Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for three years to facilitate content exchange, capacity building, and co-productions between Prasar Bharati and the National Media Authority of Egypt.
  • Under the pact, both broadcasters will exchange their programmes of different genres like sports, news, culture and entertainment on a bilateral basis.
Bilateral Relations:
  • Both have had a bilateral trade agreement since 1978 based on the most-favoured nation clause (India provided the MFN status to Egypt).
  • The bilateral trade has increased more than five times in the past 10 years.
Areas of Cooperation 
  • Agriculture: Egypt is currently facing a shortage of food grains as its major sources were the warring Ukraine and Russia. India allowed the export of 61,000 tonnes of wheat to Egypt.
  • Cyber security & IT and to end cross-border terrorism.
  • Healthcare
  • CultureThe Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) was established in Cairo in 1992. The center has been promoting cultural cooperation between the two countries.
  • Youth matters and Broadcasting
  • Investment: Egypt is seeking investments in infrastructure including Metro projects, a Suez Canal economic zone, a second channel of the Suez Canal, and a new administrative capital in Egypt. More than 50 Indian companies have invested in Egypt.
Geo-Strategic Concerns:
  • China’s bilateral trade with Egypt is currently at USD 15 billion, double that of India’s USD 7.26 billion in 2021-22. During the past eight years, the President of Egypt has traveled to China seven times to lure Chinese investments.
  • Egypt, the most populous country in West Asia, occupies a crucial geo-strategic location — 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal and is a key player in the region.
Conclusion: Egypt is a major market for India and can act as a gateway to both Europe and Africa, can help in improving ties with Muslim-majority countries and together put a stronger voice in UNSC for developing nations. Source: The Indian Express

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