Greater cooperation in trade and investment, renewable energy, and information technology between was discussed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly and the Egyptian Cabinet on Sunday.
On his way back from the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Egypt for two days beginning June 24. On Sunday, he met a select group of high-level Egyptian ministers called the 'India unit' created by Egypt to fast-track relations with India.
Headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly, who in a special gesture received Modi at the airport on Saturday, the India Unit comprises a number of Ministers and senior officials.
"Prime Minister appreciated the setting up of the India Unit and welcomed this ‘whole of the government approach’ to take forward bilateral relations with India, and shared India’s readiness to work closely with Egypt in various areas of mutual interest," the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) said in a release.
Green hydrogen, digital payment platforms, pharma, and people-to-people ties also figured in the talks, the release said.
During the visit, Prime Minister Modi had a comprehensive bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who also conferred Modi with the highest state honour of Egypt, the 'Order of Nile.'
The Egyptian President had been the chief guest at the 2023 Republic Day celebrations in Delhi as part of his second state visit to India. After his return to Egypt, he constituted the India unit. It is focused on quickly expanding business and political engagement with India.
In the ensuing months, ministerial meetings with the country had picked up pace, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visiting the country.
Egypt has also been invited as a special guest during the Group of Twenty meetings in India. Egypt’s Grand Mufti also visited India in May.
A ministerial-level delegation, led by the Chairperson of Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority visited India last week.
India's bilateral trade with Egypt stood at $6.06 billion in 2022-23, down from the record high of $7.26 billion in the previous year. India has maintained a trade surplus with Egypt with exports of $4.1 being more than double that of imports ($1.95 billion) in FY23.
Exports from India to Egypt are broad-based, but diesel and followed by organic chemicals ($311 million), heavy machinery ($256 million), iron & steel ( $223 million), and cotton ($201 million). Refined petroleum is the single biggest import item from the country.
The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 but trade has been slow to take off. Officials told Business Standard the PMs meeting with the India Unit saw discussions on how both nations can work on expanding trade beyond the oil sector. India was Egypt's fifth-largest trading partner in 2022.
According to the Indian Embassy in Cairo, around 50 Indian companies have invested upwards of $3.2 billion in apparel, agriculture, chemicals, energy, automobiles, and retail. Directly and indirectly, they employ approximately 35,000 Egyptians.
Major Indian investments in Egypt include TCI Sanmar, Alexandria Carbon Black, Kirloskar, Dabur India, FLEX P. FILMS, SCIB Paints, Godrej, Mahindra, and Monginis. Indian companies are present in a range of sectors like
As of 2022, 4401 Indians lived in Egypt.
On Saturday, the PM visited the historic 11th-century Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, which was restored with the help of India’s Dawoodi Bohra community. He later paid tributes to Indian soldiers who fought World War I in Egypt and Palestine at Cairo’s Heliopolis War Cemetery.