India and Egypt agree to expand bilateral trade

Indian PM Modi and Egypt's President Sisi target deals worth $12 billion in next five years

Egypt's President Abdel Fatteh El Sisi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Bloomberg
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El Sisi agreed on increasing the South Asian nation’s investment in Egypt that stands at more than $3.5 billion.

The two leaders, in a joint statement released late on Thursday, appreciated the strong bilateral economic engagement and expressed satisfaction at the current level of bilateral trade between New Delhi and Cairo.

Bilateral trade between the two nations was $7.26 billion in the 2021-2022 fiscal year — up 60 per cent on the 2020-21 figure.

The leaders have expressed “confidence” in increasing the bilateral trade target of $12 billion within next five years by diversifying the trade basket and focusing on value addition, the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Mr Sisi was invited as the chief guest for the Republic Day ceremony in New Delhi on Thursday. It marks the anniversary of adoption of India’s post-independence constitution.

Suez Plan

Egypt has also considered an offer to allocate land for Indian industries at the Suez Canal Economic Zone to be developed under an Indian master plan.

India is keen to make a push in exploring business opportunities in Egypt’s ambitious Suez Canal Economic Zone, a 460km independent emerging international commercial hub with six ports spanning Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

New Delhi’s regional rival China has already invested over $1 billion in these projects.

Mr Modi and Mr Sisi reiterated the importance of defence co-operation in enhancing the bilateral partnership. They resolved to focus on deepening co-operation between the defence industries to explore new initiatives to intensify military-to-military engagements.

The two leaders also emphasised co-operation in the trade of commodities of strategic nature and for food security that can help both sides to contain the repercussions of the global food crisis.

New Delhi had last year provided 61,500 tonnes of wheat to Egypt after an abrupt halt in wheat shipments from Ukraine. It was India's largest consignment despite putting a ban on wheat exports.

The two leaders had discussed a wide range of topics related to bilateral, regional and global issues on Wednesday.

Mr Modi has also invited Mr Sisi to participate in the G20 summit in India in September. Both leaders agreed to work together and reiterated that the interests and priorities of the Global South be given due attention.

Updated: January 27, 2023, 7:04 AM