As India strengthens its political and military ties with Cairo, Newhas invited Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations on 26 January.
The invitation to El Sisi, Egypt’s president since 2014, is interpreted as India’s outreach to Africa and the Arab world. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, also has Africa’s second-largest economy. Both countries marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.
The red carpet treatment for President Sisi means that-Cairo ties will receive special attention in the coming months and years. S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister both visited the country earlier this year. During their visits, both ministers met with Egypt’s President, with Jaishankar delivering him a “personal message” from Prime Minister Modi.
Defence Minister‘s visit to Cairo in September was seen as a significant gesture, as both sides increased military engagements. During his visit, he met with his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki and an MoU in the defence sector was signed, with both sides agreeing to focus on joint training, defence coproduction and equipment maintenance. Egypt is looking to buy India’s Tejas fighter jets.
The country was also invited to the India-Africa Defence Dialogue and the IOR Defence Ministers’ Conclave, which took place in October on the sidelines of the 12th DefExpo in, Gujarat.
There has been one of close cooperation between the Indian and Egyptian air forces, with efforts in the 1960s to jointly develop a fighter aircraft. From the 1960s to 1984, IAF pilots also trained Egyptian pilots. Egypt regularly provides transit services to IAF and Indian Navy aircraft travelling to and from Russia, Europe and the United States.
In September 2016, President Sisi paid an official visit to India. Prime Minister Modi met Sisi in October 2015 at the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New. Both leaders had met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York the previous year.
The North African country has also been invited by India to the G20 summit, which will be held in Newin September 2023. This is the second time the Modi government has invited an African leader to celebrate Republic Day. India has been eager to strengthen ties with Africa and the next India-Africa summit, which was held in 2015, could also take place next year.
Since PM Modi took office in 2014, India has invited US President Barack Obama (2015), French President Francois Hollande (2016), UAE’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (2017), all ASEAN leaders (2018), South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa (2019) and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.
Because of the Covid pandemic, there were no republic day visitors in the previous two years (2021 and 2022). This year, India wanted to invite all Central Asian leaders, but it was thwarted by Covid. Boris Johnson, the then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was invited as a guest in 2021, but Britain was dealing with the Covid crisis at the time. Draupadi Murmu, India’s new president, will preside over this year’s republic day.
Egypt has never been invited to India’s Republic Day celebrations since the first one began in 1950. India has invited the most people from Asian countries (36), followed by Europe (24), Africa (11), South Africa (6), North America (2) and Oceania (1).
Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important African trading partners. Despite the pandemic, trade volume fell only slightly, to USD 4.5 billion in 2019-20 and USD 4.15 billion in 2020-21. During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India sent wheat to the country.
Before the conflict, Egypt imported nearly 80 per cent of its wheat supplies from Russia and Ukraine. In April of this year, the Egyptian Cabinet announced that India had been added to the list of accredited countries that can supply wheat to Egypt, putting an end to a long-standing non-tariff barrier.
Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt