As per the Ministry of External Affairs, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day in January 2023. This is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day.

Sisi will be the first such guest since 2020, as plans for guests in 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to COVID-19.

 

Background

  • India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilisations, have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times.
  • Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
  • In modern times, the relationship between the countries flourished under President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, which were close friends.
  • Both countries had signed a Friendship Treaty in 1955.

 

Political Relations

  • Both countries have cooperated closely in multilateral fora and were the founding members of Non-Aligned Movement.
  • The year 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relation between India and Egypt.
  • Egypt has been invited as a ‘Guest Country’ during India’s Presidency of G20 in 2022-23.

 

Economic Relations

  • Bilateral trade —
      • Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent.
      • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause.
      • Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly in 2021-22, amounting to 7.26 billion registering a 75% increase compared to FY 2020-21.
        • India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to US$ 3.74 billion, registering a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21.
        • At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India reached US$ 3.52 billion registering an 86% increase.
      • During this period, India was 3rd largest export market for Egypt, 6th largest trading partner and 7th largest exporter to Egypt.
  • Investment —
      • Around 50 Indian companies have invested in various sectors in Egypt with a combined investment exceeding US$ 3.15 billion.
        • In July 2022, Egypt signed a MoU with India’s ReNew Power for $8 billion to build a clean hydrogen facility in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
        • The Indian entity, backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Goldman Sachs, is expected to produce 2,20,000 tonnes of clean fuel annually at the Egyptian facility.
      • Egyptian investments in India are to the tune of US$ 37 million.
  • Grant-in-aid projects include —
      • Pan Africa Tele-medicine and Tele-education project in Alexandria University,
      • Solar electrification project in Agaween village,
      • Vocational Training Centre for textile technology in Shoubra, Cairo.

 

Wheat export from India

  • Russia-Ukraine conflict has threatened Egypt with a shortage for wheat, 80% of which is imported from Russia and Ukraine.
  • In April 2022, Egypt announced inclusion of India in the list of accredited countries which can supply wheat to Egypt, thus ending a long pending Non-Tariff Barrier.
  • Though the ban on wheat exports in India posed a difficulty in concluding the shipment, an initial shipment of 61,500 metric tons of wheat was cleared by India for Egypt in May 2022.

 

Defence Relations

  • Courses — Both sides offer courses on a regular basis, in which Egyptian officers are given training in India and Indian defence officers are trained in Egypt.
  • Exercises —
    • Egypt participated in the Multinational Training Exercise for friendly African countries held at Pune in March 2019.
    • The first ever IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, Dessert Warrior, was held in October 2021.
    • The first ever Special Forces exercise “Cyclone 1” between India and Egypt planned in Jodhpur in January 2022 stands postponed.
  • Egypt has shown interest in acquiring arms produced by India, including the Akash missile systems capable of intercepting hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km.

 

Indian Community

  • At present, the Indian community in Egypt numbers at around 3200, most of whom are concentrated in Cairo.
  • There are also a small number of families in Alexandria, Port Said and Ismailia.
  • About 400 Indian students are studying in Egypt, mainly in Al Azhar University with around 275 students, and the rest in Ain Shams Medical University (around 80 students) and Cairo University.