India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj began her trip to Egypt by addressing the Indian community gathered at Cairo. She began by appreciating the contribution of the Indian community in foreign lands and also said the Indian community in Egypt has set the benchmark very high and that they have also contributed substantially to the development of close ties between India and Egypt.
Elaborating further on the contributions made by Indians in Egypt, Ms Swaraj said, “It is impressive that Indian investments in about 50 companies are almost USD 3 billion, in sectors such as petrochemicals, textiles, agriculture and chemicals, consumer products and others. Your technical skills at a competitive cost have been an indispensable part of the local economy and I understand you employ almost 35,000 Egyptians and contribute significantly to the export earnings of Egypt. Although small in number, you are recognised as a successful and integrated community.”
Ms Swaraj also appreciated the Indian community for keeping the traditions and culture alive by celebrating Holi, Diwali and Eid with the same fervor. She mentioned how Holi has now become a popular festival among the youth in Cairo. She also said the Indian community has not only earned the love and respect of not just Egyptians but also the entire world. She said the hardworking nature, values and peaceful nature of Indians is deeply appreciated by the Egyptians. She also congratulated them for their contributions while adding they also make India proud.
Speaking about the 2014 general elections mandate given to the Modi government she said, “As the results came in, we saw the unprecedented mandate that was given to us. We were not surprised for we knew the desire and aspiration in you. It is our duty to realise those aspirations that you had voted for in the elections in May 2014. I am happy to say that we have achieved great success in the field of foreign affairs as well. The greatness of India now has a stronger resonance and our circle of friends has grown. With economic growth and social advancement, our sphere of influence has also grown. Countries look up to us as a role model,” she added.
Ms Swaraj also spoke about the importance of the Gulf region and North Africa to India’s interests saying it is crucial for India’s national security, resources and energy security. She also said India would seek closer cooperation and partnership with this region. “The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has undertaken a number of measures to ensure the welfare of our community in Egypt including the establishment of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to assist our nationals in distress. I understand a number of people have been provided assistance under this fund. I am pleased that the Embassy of India has been working closely with the Indian Community and has established two organisations,” said Ms Swaraj.
Appreciating the Indian Embassy in Egypt for opening two organisations, Ms Swaraj said the Area Ward Volunteers of the Indian diaspora would be the first point of contact in case of an emergency situation. The second one, India Business Forum (IBF) has been created as a platform to promote Brand India and leverage interests of Indian companies in Egypt.
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