External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday and the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the Ukraine conflict and the Indo-Pacific and exchanged views on boosting bilateral ties and how to create a more resilient global economy.
Mr Jaishankar is in Egypt on a two-day visit at the invitation of his Egyptian counterpart Shoukry.
“A warm and productive meeting with FM Sameh Shoukry of Egypt. Reflected our deep-rooted ties as we mark 75 years of diplomatic relations this year,” he said in a tweet.
A warm and productive meeting with FM Sameh Shoukry of Egypt.
Reflected our deep-rooted ties as we mark 75 years of diplomatic relations this year. pic.twitter.com/L9BuRcupOz
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) October 15, 2022
“As states active in shaping global debates, discussed developments in our regions and exchanged views on the Ukraine conflict and Indo-Pacific. A polarised world needs independent thinking and voices of reason,” he said in another tweet.
Mr Jaishankar said India and Egypt’s cooperation in multilateral forums remains robust and welcomed Egyptian participation in G20 next year and in BRICS New Development Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
“Our political cooperation has historically been strong. We have a number of institutions. Some of them have been meeting regularly, and some of them are due to meet. We hope to do a meeting of our counterterrorism working group as well. But overall, we’ve always had good political understanding and certainly today’s meeting and discussions I think have enhanced it,” Mr Jaishankar said in his opening remarks at the press conference with his Egyptian counterpart.
He said the two countries in recent times have stepped up their defence and security cooperation and there have been discussions on how to collaborate more closely on the defence side, especially in defence production.
“Trade and commerce have again seen a very big increase. Last year was our highest-ever trade – in excess of 7.2 billion dollars. It was a big jump. Today, we reviewed that. We agreed that there were possibilities for still further growth. That both of us must work to address Market Access issues that we might have respectively,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“Investment has also been very positive. Indian companies today have a recorded investment of more than 3 billion dollars and we have again close to about a billion dollars in the pipeline. And we see a lot of new possibilities. I shared with the Minister some of what we are picking up from industry, new possibilities here, particularly in renewable energy. So, we are again very optimistic on that score,” he said.
The two ministers also discussed ways to increase air connectivity and tourism.
Mr Jaishankar said India and Egypt are both civilisation states and share a tradition of thinking beyond their narrow national interests.
“We’ve always been interested in the world, involved with the world, and we have again, a history of working together. We obviously spent some time discussing the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions for fertilizers, food and energy security. I shared with the Minister my perspectives on the Indo-Pacific. He spoke about his views. We discussed how to create a more resilient global economy,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar also backed Egypt’s chairing of the COP 27 next month. “It is the struggle for climate action, and to ensure climate justice is something which all Global South countries feel strongly about. So, I assured the minister of our fullest support,” he said.
“So, overall, it’s been a good day for our bilateral relationship. We will be able to give stronger guidance to our systems, how to go forward. I think it’s been a good meeting of minds with the Minister, on international issues,” Mr Jaishankar added.
Mr Jaishankar also met Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit and exchanged views on regional and global situation.
“Thank @arableague_gs Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit for a warm welcome to the headquarters of the League of Arab States. Discussed intensifying the engagement between India and the LAS. Also exchanged views on regional and global situation,” he said in a tweet.
Earlier in the day, Mr Jaishankar paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the famous Al Horreya Park in the Egyptian capital. Gandhi’s bust was unveiled at the park in 2019 to mark his 150th birth anniversary.
India and Egypt share close political understanding based on a long history of contact and cooperation in bilateral, regional and global issues. Both countries have cooperated closely in multilateral fora and were the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. The year 2022 is of particular significance since it marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Egypt.
Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent. Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly in 2021-22, amounting to 7.26 billion registering a 75 per cent increase compared to FY 2020-21, according to the Indian embassy in Egypt.
India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to USD 3.74 billion, registering a 65 per cent increase over the same period in FY 2020-21. At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India reached USD 3.52 billion registering an 86 per cent increase, the embassy said on its website.
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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)