About Us India - Egypt Relations

India-Egypt Bilateral Relations

India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times. Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II. In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi and Saad Zaghloul shared common goals on the independence of their countries, a relationship that was to blossom into an exceptionally close friendship between President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, leading to a Friendship Treaty between the two countries in 1955.

Political Relations

India and Egypt share close political understanding based on long history of contacts and cooperation in bilateral, regional and global issues. The joint announcement of establishment of diplomatic relations at Ambassadorial level was made on 18 August 1947. Both countries have cooperated closely in multilateral fora and were the founding members of Non-Aligned Movement. The year 2022 is of particular significance since it marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relation between India and Egypt.

Since the 1980s, there have been four Prime Ministerial visits from India to Egypt: Shri Rajiv Gandhi (1985); Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao (1995); Shri I. K. Gujral (1997); and Dr. Manmohan Singh (2009, NAM Summit).  From the Egyptian side, President Hosni Mubarak visited India in 1982, in 1983 (NAM Summit), and again in 2008. High level exchanges with Egypt continued after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and then President Mohamed Morsi visited India in March 2013. External Affairs Minister (EAM) visited Cairo in March 2012 and the Egyptian Foreign Minister visited India in December 2013. 

After the new government led by President Sisi took over in June 2014, EAM paid a visit to Cairo in August 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Sisi on the sidelines of UNGA, New York in September 2015. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi met President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October 2015. President Sisi also paid a State visit to India in September 2016. A Joint Statement was issued, outlining the three pillars of political-security cooperation, economic engagement & scientific collaboration and cultural & people-people ties as the basis of a new partnership for a new era.

Other Visits & Engagements: During 2015 to 2019, a number of Ministerial and official visits took place from India to Egypt and vice-versa. The latest Ministerial visit from India to Egypt was that of Minister of State (IC) for Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri in November 2019. He met with Minister of Trade & Industry of Egypt and also delivered the keynote address at the inaugural session of the “Regional Conclave on India - West Asia and North Africa (WANA)” organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). There have also been exchange of visits at the level of NSA’s as well various Parliamentary delegations from 2010-2019. There were no major engagements in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In February 2021, the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, Minister of Defence & Military Production, General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, participated virtually in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers Conclave at Bengaluru. The most significant visit in 2021 has been of Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari. He visited Egypt from 28th November to 2nd December 2021.

Bilateral mechanisms: There are several mechanisms of bilateral institutional dialogue at different levels. The 11th round of Foreign Office Consultations was held at Delhi in December 2015. The first Joint Working Group on Cyber Issues was held in New Delhi in December 2016. The 4th Joint Committee Meeting on S&T was held in New Delhi in April 2017. The 2nd ISRO-NARSS JWG was held in Cairo in November 2017. 7th round of Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held in March 2018 in New Delhi, in which an Egyptian delegation headed by FM Shoukry participated. The 8th Joint Defence Committee (JDC) was held in New Delhi from 26-29 December, 2018 and the 9th JDC was held in Cairo from 5-7 November, 2019. The 2nd India-Egypt JWG on Counter Terrorism held in Cairo in January 2018. The India-Egypt Workshops on Agriculture-Biotechnology and Nanotechnology were held in Shillong in September 2018 and in Mumbai in January 2019, respectively. The 4th Joint Trade Committee was held in New Delhi in March 2019. The 1st JWG on Agriculture, Plant Quarantine and Animal Quarantine also met on the sidelines of the 4th JTC in March 2019. After a gap of over an year, the bilateral mechanisms restarted on 3rd March 2021 with JWG on Trade and Investment being held by videocon. The 5th Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology was held on 5th October 2021 in virtual mode, focusing on agriculture, nanotechnology, biotechnology and renewable energy. JWGs on Health & Pharma and Environment are also being planned.

Recent Developments: PM Narendra Modi held a phone conversation with President Sisi on 17th April 2020 to discuss efforts to halt the spread of the Coronavirus, and again on 26th April 2020 to exchange Eid-ul-Fitr greetings. PM expressed his appreciation for the support extended by Egyptian authorities for the safety and welfare of Indian nationals in Egypt during the COVID-19 crisis and conveyed his desire to meet President Sisi as soon as circumstances permit.

President Sisi expressed sympathy and solidarity with the People and Government of India during the second wave of COVID-19, on 30th April 2021. Egypt dispatched three planes with medical supplies to India on 9th May 2021. In addition, Embassy of India also signed an agreement to procure 300,000 doses of REMDESEVIR from M/s EVA Pharma, Egypt; which were provided well before schedule.

FM Shoukry spoke to EAM, by telecon, on 30th June 2021, to seek India’s support for Egypt’s position on GERD in the UNSC. Later on 21st September 2021, EAM met with FM Shoukry in New York on the side-lines of 76th UNGA Session. Both discussed strengthening of bilateral cooperation, GERD issue and situation in Afghanistan. Recently, on 7th January 2022, EAM again held a telecon with FM Shoukry to convey best wishes for the New Year. Both discussed bilateral ties and agreed to take it to higher levels.

India-LAS Engagement: The 3rd Senior Official Meeting of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum took place virtually on 12th January 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by Secretary (CPV & OIA) Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya and Asst. Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the LAS, Amb. Mohamed Abu Al-Kheir. The discussions focused on issues of mutual concern on both regional and international levels, collaboration in the field of diagnostics and treatment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment, energy and environment, agriculture and food security, science and technology, media, human resource development etc.

1st India- Arab Energy Forum took place virtually from 8th to 9th June 2021 under the joint chairmanship of India and the Kingdom of Morocco. Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy, GoI, Shri. RK Singh delivered the opening remarks at the Forum.

Economic Relations

Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent. The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause and the bilateral trade has increased more than five times in last ten years. The bilateral trade in 2018-19 reached US$ 4.55 billion. Despite Pandemic, the volume of trade declined only marginally to US $ 4.5 billion in 2019-20 and to US $ 4.15 billion in 2020-21 (Egypt’s exports to India were valued at US$ 1.89 billion and imports from India at US$ 2.26 billion with India having a favorable trade balance of US$ 372 million.) Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly between April-October 2021, amounting to US$ 3.8 billion. India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to US$ 1.86 billion, registering a 63.2% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21. At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India have doubled and reached US$ 1.94 Billion. At the present rate of growth, bilateral trade will reach highest ever level of almost US$ 7 billion in 2021-22.

During this period of 2021-22, the top Indian imports from Egypt were Mineral Oil/Petroleum, Fertilizers, Inorganic Chemicals and Cotton and main items of export to Egypt from India were Buffalo Meat, Light Vehicles and Heavy machinery. According to the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), India has become the largest export market for Egypt in 2021. India was also the 5th largest trading partner with Egypt and 7th largest exporter to Egypt.

Bilateral mechanisms are in place to facilitate trade and economic relations between India and Egypt. The Mission also assists in organizing various fora for commercial collaboration. Since 2020, due to the pandemic, most of the events and meetings have been held virtually. A few notable ones held more recently include BSM on Textiles, “Ind-Texpo”, in January 2021; virtual meeting between Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services IFTAS and Central Bank of Egypt CBE in February 2021; BSM on Agricultural and Processed Food and their exports in association with APEDA in June 2021; 3P Africa International Expo organized by PHDCCI in July 2021, in which Ambassador spoke on India-Africa business promotion; BSM on Indian Coffee in October 2021; BSM on Oilseeds in November 2021 etc. During 2021, Ambassador has held video-conferences with major Indian infrastructure companies like L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji to encourage them to look at the infrastructure projects in Egypt. As a result, many of them have started bidding for projects here. Ambassador also held video-conferences with NASSCOM and Indian IT companies to urge them to explore the Egyptian market.

Due to the pandemic, there were no exchanges of business delegations for last one and a half years. However, since August 2021, Egypt has started organizing Trade Fairs with physical participation. 8 business delegations from FIEO, TPCI, Wool and Woolen Export Council, PHARMEXCIL, EEPC etc. have participated in Trade Fairs in Egypt between August and December 2021.

Around 50 Indian companies have invested in various sectors in Egypt with a combined investment exceeding US$ 3.15 billion. Major Indian investments in Egypt include TCI Sanmar (with the largest investment of US$ 1.5 billion), 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 apparel, agriculture, chemicals, energy, automobiles, retail and others. Overall, these companies provide direct and indirect employment to approximately 35,000 Egyptians. Indian companies like L&T and Sterling & Wilson have also executed projects in Egypt, in energy and telecom sectors. Most of these Indian companies like TCI Sanmar also have additional investments in the pipeline.

Egyptian investments in India are to the tune of US$ 37 million which include ElSewedy Group (smart electrometers); KAPCI Coatings (car paints), Modern Waterproofing Group / Bitumode (waterproofing membranes and protection boards for construction industry) and 700 Apps (I.T Services).

The grants-in-aid projects include: Pan Africa Tele-medicine and Tele-education project in Alexandria University, Solar electrification project in Agaween village and Vocational Training Centre for textile technology in Shoubra, Cairo, which have been completed. An IT Centre in Al Azhar University, CEIT, is also operational since February 2019.

Technical cooperation and assistance have been a major part of our bilateral relationship. Since 2000, over 1250 Egyptian officials have benefited from ITEC and other programs like ICCR and IAFS scholarships. We have also organized a special course for Egyptian diplomats and a special course for LAS diplomats in 2019 at FSI. In addition, Egyptian and LAS diplomats also participate in Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats, which we organize at FSI.

In the field of scientific cooperation, ICAR and the Agricultural Research Center of Egypt are working in the field of agricultural research. ‘Science & Technology’ cooperation is implemented through biennial Executive Programmes and Scientific Cooperation Programme between CSIR (India) and NRC (Egypt).

Space cooperation is an emerging vertical of cooperation between India and Egypt. Joint Working Group meetings and discussions between ISRO and NARSS (National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences) have been held, since an MoU was signed in 2008. With Egypt having establish EgSA (Egyptian Space Agency) in 2019, both sides have agreed on drafting a new MoU to include EgSA and cover other developments in the sector and is in process.

Egypt signed the ISA framework agreement as a founding member in March 2018 and ratified it in January 2019. The revised Framework Agreement is being processed for ratification by Egypt. Egypt has also supported ISA being granted Observer Status in UNGA in mid-October 2021.

Defence Relations

Egypt and India enjoy cordial defence relations. In the recent past, since 2015, there have been several high-level exchange of visits by defense delegations including the visit of the Minister of Defense of Egypt, General Sedki Sobhi, in 2017 and the visit of Minister of Defense of Indian, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in 2018. Since late 2019, there was a lull due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, since June 2021, 7 defence delegations have visited Egypt, most significant among them being the visit of Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, who visited Egypt from 28th November to 2nd December 2021. He attended the Egypt Air Power Symposium and delivered a keynote address on 'Strategic Air Intelligence in confronting new and non-organized threats. Subsequently, he attended the Egyptian Defence Exposition (EDEX).

Cultural Relations

The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) has been promoting cultural cooperation between the two countries, through regular activities such as Hindi, Urdu and Yoga classes; seminars; film shows; exhibitions and participation in local cultural activities.

‘Sawt-ul-Hind’, Embassy’s flagship Arabic magazine for the past six decades, reached a milestone in July 2017 with the publishing of its 500th edition, depicting the strong bond and vibrant cultural exchanges between the two countries. Sawtul-Hind, whose first edition was published in 1952, continues to be an interface between India and Egypt and the Arab world at large.

In its outreach activities, MACIC also organizes India Day(s) in Egyptian Governorates and universities on a regular basis. Recently, on 16 November 2021, an 'India Day' was organized in Command & Staff College, Cairo. Ambassador addressed about 500 officers of over 20 countries on Indian foreign policy. This was followed by an Indian cultural program and Food Festival as well.

MACIC has been organizing “Glimpses of India” painting competition for Egyptian children for the last 25 years.  An overwhelming response was received in the 2019 edition of the painting competition with record participation of 16,000 schoolchildren. Silver Jubilee celebration of the competition was held in October 2019, hosting a delegation of 12 artists from India. However in 2020 and 2021, the competition could not be held due to Covid-19 pandemic.

While 2019 witnessed diverse cultural activities and exchanges between India and Egypt, the activities came to a near standstill during 2020 and first half of 2021 as well because of Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, the 8th edition of India by the Nile, the annual Indian cultural festival, was held in a scaled down fashion in March 2020 in cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Fayoum and Port Said. After a gap of nearly 2 years, in early December 2021, an 11-member cultural troupe, ‘Anveshana Society for Performing Arts’ visited Egypt, sponsored by ICCR. The troupe performed at Ismailia, Port Said, at India-Bangladesh Maitri Diwas celebrations at Baron Palace and at Sayed Darwish Theatre, Alexandria; leaving the audiences spellbound.

Yoga has gained immense popularity in Egypt. International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2020 was celebrated by the Embassy, over multiple online platforms, due to Coronavirus restrictions. Various online activities were conducted in the run up to the IDY, including workshops for corporates, media persons and diplomats; “Yoga in Egypt” photography contest; and “My Yoga My Life” - global video-blogging contest. To celebrate IDY 2021, a curtain raiser event was organized on 19th June 2021 at India House, with participation of people from the diplomatic community, artists and other celebrities. The IDY was celebrated on 21st June 2021 in Children’s Park in Heliopolis, Cairo, the Chief Guest of which was Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Azza EL Dory. It saw participation of 250 people and the event was also live on Zoom for virtual participation. Major TV channels and newspapers were also present on the occasion. Ambassador also gave interviews to many important TV Channels; these telecasts received extensive viewership, with an estimated 10-12 million persons having watched them.

The Embassy launched the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, by organizing commemorative events on 2nd October 2018. Spanning over an year, diverse programs were held in 2018 and 2019. An event to mark 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and International Day of Non-violence was organized in collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS) on 2nd October 2019 at LAS Headquarters. On 6 November 2019, a commemorative stamp on Mahatma Gandhi was released by Egypt Post. Egypt has also named a street in Cairo after Mahatma Gandhi (Cairo also has 2 other streets named after Pandit Nehru and Dr. Zakir Hussein). Further, there are three busts of Mahatma Gandhi in Egypt– one at the Supreme Council of Culture, Cairo, one at Al-Horreya Park, Zamalek and one in Alexandria at the Bibliotheca Alexandria. The bronze bust at Al-Horreya Park was unveiled on 6 November 2019 by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (IC) for Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry to mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

In 2020 and 2021, due to Covid-19 pandemic, Gandhi-Jayanti was commemorated on a limited scale with a few online competitions in essay writing, poetry, oration etc. and a few exhibitions on life and messages of Mahatma Gandhi. Books on Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings were distributed to some of the most important universities in Egypt. The Embassy of India in Cairo also payed floral tributes to Gandhiji's bust in El- Horreya Park in Zamalek, on 2nd October in 2020 and 2021.

In the run up to 75th Indian Independence Day on 15th August 2021, MACIC organized “India @75 Quiz” from 1st to 14th of August 2021, as a part of AKAM celebration. Painting and patriotic song competitions were also held in this regard. The Embassy also illuminated the iconic Cairo Tower (which is the tallest tower in North Africa) with Indian National Flag in the evening of 15th August 2021. This was the first time ever that Cairo Tower had been lit with Indian tricolor. Continuing the AKAM celebrations, a ‘Bollywood Music and Dance Evening’ was also organized for the diplomatic community in Cairo, in India-House, which was well-received.

MACIC organized a Symposium in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Culture on "India-Egypt Cultural Relations", under an initiative called ‘Cultural Relations’ of the Ministry of Culture, Egypt, at the Supreme Council of Culture, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek on 25th August 2021. Ambassador delivered the keynote address. Dr. Mohamed Hegazy, former Ambassador of Egypt to India and other scholars highlighted commonalities and close relations between both civilizations and praised India for being an example of "Unity in Diversity" and tolerance.

Ambassador Ajit Gupte hosted a reception in honor of 43rd Cairo Film Festival and AR Rahman at 'India House' on 28 Nov 2021. AR Rahman was on a visit to Cairo to participate in 43rd edition of Cairo International Film festival. Famous Egyptian celebrities like Amr Diab, Elham Shahin, Mirna Walid, Dina Abdallah and Amr Salama also attended the reception, which was followed by a scintillating cultural performance.Embassy of India, in cooperation with the Embassy of Bangladesh in Cairo, celebrated ‘India-Bangladesh Maitri Diwas’ in a spectacular fashion at Baron Place (designed and built in early 20th century by Belgian architect, Alexandre Marcel, inspired mostly by the Hindu temples of South India) on 06 December 2021. Ms. Ghada Shalaby, Egypt's Vice Minister for Tourism was the Chief Guest of the event, which was attended by more 200 dignitaries from diplomatic community, think-tanks and academic circles, entertainment industry etc.

Indian Community

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. A majority of the Indians are either employed with Indian companies or are professionals with various multinationals. The Mission provides assistance to the Indian Community Association in Egypt (ICAE) and works closely with members of the community. About 400 Indian students are studying in Egypt, mainly in Al Azhar University with around 275 students, and the rest in Ain Shams Medical University (around 80 students) and Cairo University.