New Delhi : India and Egypt, which has been invited as guest country for the Republic Day ceremony, are emerging as "ideal strategic and economic partners with potential cooperation" in defence, security, counter-terrorism, among other things, according to Egyptian analyst Mohammed Soliman.
Mohammed Soliman, an Egyptian analyst, currently working as a manager at McLarty Associates, a global strategy firm based in Washington, and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute said, "Egypt and India are progressively emerging as ideal strategic and economic partners, with potential cooperation in defence, security, counter-terrorism, industrialisation, pharmaceuticals, and food security." "India exempted Egypt from its recent wheat ban, and the two nations expanded their cooperation in pharmaceuticals," he added.
Egypt's economic growth accelerated from 2017 through 2019 but slowed in 2020 and 2021 after it was affected by multiple global shocks. Egypt could give a fillip to economic recovery by partnering with emerging economies like India. Egypt could find a much more reliable partner for development in India without hampering its sovereignty, or ideology.
The plan to develop the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) into a global manufacturing hub is now attracting critical mass. India can make use of these investment opportunities and Indian firms could invest in the Suez Canal Economic Zone with requisite incentives.
Egypt can collaborate with India in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The role of ICT in developing India's economy has garnered the attention of Egypt. ICT contributes to around 8 per cent of the total GDP in India.
Recently, Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat visited India. Talaat's visit demonstrates Egypt's intention to seek cooperation with the Indian information technology sector.
Egypt seeks cooperation with India in communications and information technology, particularly in sectors related to digital transformation, the electronics industry, setting up digital capabilities for youth, research and development, and cyber security.
In 2018, Egypt signed the International Solar Alliance (ISA) framework agreement as a founding member and ratified it in January 2019. The agreement gives an opportunity to Egypt to work with India on solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
The two nations have been brought closer by the COVID-19 pandemic and after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Both nations have demonstrated mutual goodwill by helping each other at crucial times in the past. Egypt's dispatch of 300,000 doses of Remdesivir in May 2021 during the second wave of COVID-19 was appreciated by Indians.
India also supplied wheat to Egypt as the Russia-Ukraine conflict had threatened the nation with a shortage of wheat as Egypt imported 80 per cent of the wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government announced the inclusion of India in the list of accredited countries to supply wheat to Egypt in 2022.
This time, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the Chief Guest for India's 74th Republic Day celebrations. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including five Ministers and senior officials, according to statement released by Ministry of External Affairs.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is due to arrive in New Delhi on January 24. During his visit, Sisi is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. He will also interact with the business community in India.
"This is for the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt has been invited as Chief Guest on our Republic Day. A military contingent from Egyptian Army will also participate in the Republic Day parade," the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official statement.
The Ministry of External Affairs stated, "The forthcoming visit of President Sisi is expected to further strengthen and deepen the time-tested partnership between India and Egypt." Notably, India and Egypt are celebrating 75 years of establishment of diplomatic ties this year. Egypt has also been invited as a 'Guest Country' during India's G20 Presidency.