El Sisi’s milestone Republic Day visit to India revives memories of bygone era

At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, when Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement with Yugoslavia’s Tito, India and Egypt were almost unrecognizable.

These were the days of high ideals, heated discourse and populism in the prosperous post-colonial era. Memories of an era of global landscape change linger; A time when non-Cold War nations like Egypt, India and Yugoslavia wanted to be recognized in a world reeling from the collapse of European colonialism and struggling to heal from the wounds of World War II.

What remains to this day, no longer Yugoslavia, is the special relationship between Egypt and India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets his hair done during a rally in Mumbai, India.  The Indian leader will host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in New Delhi later this week.  AP

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations later this week, visiting New Delhi to celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties between Cairo and Delhi with Indian leaders.

This will be Mr El Sisi’s third visit to India since the former army general took over. in It is the most populous Arab country in 2014, but the most important given the giant leaps the two countries have made in strengthening and expanding their ties.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last visited Cairo in August 2015.

India’s ambassador to Egypt, Ajit Gupte, said at the National Day celebrations in Cairo over the weekend, “This is undoubtedly an important event that heralds a new dawn in the relations between the two countries. The world is facing new threats. In order to reach a lasting solution It is inevitable that (the two) countries will come closer.”

Multilateral communication

Bilateral trade increased from $4.55 billion in 2018-2019 to $7.26 billion in 2021-22, making India Egypt’s third-largest export market and sixth-largest trading partner, according to Indian government figures.

India’s investment in Egypt is also $3.15 billion, and 50 Indian companies are active in Egypt in sectors such as manufacturing, chemicals, energy, infrastructure, and retail.

In a broader geopolitical context, Mr. El Sisi’s visit comes at a time when India needs to work with Egypt and its Gulf allies to address potentially destabilizing competition for vital shipping lanes in West Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Red seas.

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India’s more active role in the region will be a reflection of its and Egypt’s historical significance and importance, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

“We are both civilized countries. We have a tradition of thinking beyond narrow national interests. “We have always been interested in the world and have a history of working together again,” he said in Cairo last October.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.  EPA

The Egyptian and Indian navies and air forces have already held joint war games, and negotiations to sell the Indian-made Tejas light combat aircraft to Egypt have been ongoing for months.

Last September, during the visit of Defense Minister Shri Rajnath to Cairo, the two armies signed a memorandum of cooperation. During the visit, the Indian minister met Mr. El Sisi and his prime minister, General Mohammed Zaki, and discussed improving military cooperation with Egypt.

The joint defense committee of Egypt and India has met nine times since 2006.

Indian Navy personnel stand on deck during the commissioning of the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in September.  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will discuss military cooperation between India and Egypt during his visit to New Delhi this week.  AFP

According to Egyptian security officials, both Cairo and Delhi have counter-terrorism intelligence and coordination. The Egyptian leader’s talks in New Delhi would discuss joint military production or the sale of air defense weapon systems, drones and armored vehicles by India, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

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“We hope that an important agreement on military cooperation will be reached during the President’s stay in Delhi. The focus of the talks will be fighter jets, drones, and warships,” said one of the officials.

The agreement on joint military production would revive similar industries the two countries had in the 1950s and 1960s.

In addition, the purchase of weapons from India is aimed at diversifying the sources of Egypt’s armed forces, initiated by Mr. El Sisi, and complementing the large arsenal of modern weapons of the United States with equipment from countries such as Germany, Russia, Italy and France.

Cairo is also seeking to transfer military technology through licenses to produce domestically parts of the weapons systems it imports. It also invested in the development of its emerging arms industry.

“Arab states are becoming more influential on the world stage and are seeking bilateral relations with other powers, including India,” Mohammed Soliman of the Near East Institute in Washington said in an interview published this month. India Narrative.

“For Arab capitals, India is a nuclear-capable power on the verge of overtaking China as the world’s most populous and fifth-largest economy…This makes India a natural ally in times of global turmoil,” he said. Elsewhere in the interview, he mentioned the revival of what he called the Cairo-Delhi axis.

Updated: January 23, 2023, 02:00 AM


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