With Egypt, India aims to deepen Africa connect

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 24: With President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi touching down the national capital on Tuesday for a three-day as he is the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade, India is banking on old ties and robust trade relations to deepen the African connect. India is seen raising stakes in Africa, as seen in the Indian bid to meet the defence needs of the African countries by hosting their Defence Ministers at the DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat last year.

Egyptian contingent on Monday took part in the full rehearsal on ‘Kartavya Path’, marching ahead to the curious eyes of the onlookers, as they reflected on deeper bonds between Indian and Egypt since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawahar Lal Nehru when they helmed their respective countries. India and Egypt are now commemorating 75 years of diplomatic relations.

For India aiming to be the fourth largest economy in the world in the next few years with ultimate aim at the third and second slot, Egypt is a crucial African pivot, for the bilateral trade is robust and growing fast. Bilateral trade between India and Egypt touched $7.26 billion dollars in 2021-22 (Indian export of $3.74 billion; imports $3.52 billion). Equally significant is the presence of the Indian private enterprises in Egypt, who have poured over $3 billion to become crucial player in the Egyptian economy.

“The target is to take the bilateral trade from current $7 billion to $12 billion by 2027. The Suez Canal, which is extremely important for India’s trade and transit and for which India stood with Egypt in 1956, has begun to attract more Indian companies in its special economic zone enterprise,” wrote Anil Trigunayat, former diplomat, for Vivekanand International Foundation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Cairo in 2015, which was followed by a flurry of high level exchanges between the two countries. Sisi is also holding the office for the past 10 years in Egypt, which is among the top destination for the Indian entertainment industry as they shoot in the backdrop of the UNESCO sites in the African country.

Trigunayat also wrote that Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are nations of greater importance for Modi, as he holds special friendships with their heads of the states. India indeed is banking on three nations for quantum jump in is economic profile, as New Delhi hosts the G20, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year.

While India seeks to diversify its fertilizer imports, Egypt is emerging as an alternative destination. Egypt largely exports oil and gas to India. India is heavily invested in Egypt in all sectors, with exports largely accounted by dairy and agriculture Egypt will also be a ‘Guest Country’ during G20 this year.

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