Swaraj visit: India, Egypt to step economic ties


India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is all set to begin a two-day standalone bilateral visit to  Egypt, North Africa’s influential Arab country, on August 24-25. The maiden visit by Swaraj  is expected to provide an opportunity to review bilateral relations between both the countries along with promoting various aspects of mutual interests such as combating terrorism. India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt apart from being the second largest export destination.

The total bilateral trade between India and Egypt is USD 4.76 billion as of 2014-15 with India’s imports from Egypt being worth USD 1.74 billion and exports to Egypt worth USD 3.02 billion. “We believe that India can play a strong part when Egypt expands its economy and increases its engagement in the region, Africa and Europe,” India’s ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya said. “In addition to politics and economy, there are certain specific areas that both countries would like to have closer cooperation in, including the fields of energy and medicine,” he added.

The upcoming visit of Ms Swaraj will not only review the existing bilateral relations but also multilateral relations by exchanging views on a range of issues of mutual interest. India also has close cooperation with Egypt in the energy and pharmaceutical sectors. “We believe that India can provide the world affordable and reliable medicines, which will benefit the health sector,” said Mr Bhattacharyya.

Some of the Indian projects such as solar energy projects, African tele-medicine and tele-education projects are being implemented with the University of Alexandria. “We are going to establish a vocational training centre in Cairo for textiles. We are going to establish an IT Centre of Excellence at Al-Azhar University,” said Mr Bhattacharyya.

With India looking to increase its economic engagement with Egypt, the relationship is expected to be upgraded to the next level and also build a new partnership.

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