About Us India - Egypt Relations

Embassy of India
Cairo

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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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. In July 2022, Air Marshal Helmy led a delegation to India and held meetings with our Chief of Air Force, Chief of Army and Chief of Navy. CAG of India, Sh. Girish Chandra Murmu participated in the 14th Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) Steering Committee Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt from 12th to 14th September, 2022 Most recently, RM Shri Rajnath Singh visited Egypt from 18-21 September 2022 and held meetings with President Sisi as well as the Minister of Defense General Mohammad Zaki and MOU on Defence Cooperation was signed. EAM Dr. S Jaishankar visited Egypt from 14-16 October 2022; he called on President Sisi and held delegation-level talks with FM Shoukry and discussed growing cooperation in various fields. From 6th-20th November 2022, MoEFCC Shri Bhupendra Yadav also visited Egypt, leading the Indian delegation for CoP-27.

  5. 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. 1st JWG on Drugs & Pharmaceuticals was held on 14th March 2022 and on 11th April 2022, 1st JWG on Health & Medicine was held. The 5th meeting of Joint Trade Commission and Joint Business Council were held in Cairo on 25th and 26th July 2022 respectively. 1st JWG on Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries was held virtually on 25 October 2022.

  6. 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 May 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.

  7. 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.

Economic Relations

  1. 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.

  2. Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly in 2021-22, amounting to 7.26 billion registering a 75% increase compared to FY 2020-21. India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to US$ 3.74 billion, registering a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21. Egypt’s exports to India reached US$ 3.52 billion registering an 86% increase over the preivous year. According to the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), India was the 6th most important trading partner for Egypt in FY2021-22. During this period, India was the 6th largest export destination and 6th most significant source of imports as well. In FY 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, Iron & Steel, Engineering Products, Light Vehicles and Cotton Yarn.

  3. During April-September period of FY 2022-23, according to CAPMAS, the bilateral trade has reached USD 2.67 billion, with USD 1.9 billion worth imports from India and USD 0.77 billion worth exports to India. While exports from India show 24% YoY growth, imports to India has declined by 28% in comparison to the same period in FY 2021-22.

  4. Wheat export from India: Russia-Ukraine conflict has threatened Egypt with a shortage for wheat, 80% of which is imported from Russia and Ukraine. On 14 April 2022, Egyptian Cabinet announced inclusion of India in the list of accredited countries which can supply wheat to Egypt, thus ending a long pending Non-Tariff Barrier. Though the ban on wheat exports in India posed a difficulty in concluding the shipment, an initial shipment of 61,500 metric tons of wheat was cleared by India for Egypt on 17th May 2022.

  5. 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 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 Gems & Jewelry on 8th February 2022 etc. During 2021, Ambassador has also held video-conferences with major Indian infrastructure companies like L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji to encourage them to look at the infra 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.

  6. After the lull period due to the pandemic, since August 2021, Egypt has started organizing Trade Fairs with physical participation. Over 10 business delegations from CII, TEXPROCIL, PDEXCILFIEO, TPCI, Wool and Woolen Export Council, PHARMEXCIL, EEPC etc. have participated in Trade Fairs in Egypt between August 2021 and November 2022.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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.

  10. Technical cooperation and assistance have been a major part of our bilateral relationship. Since 2000, over 1300 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.

  11. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. Egypt and India enjoy cordial defence relations. There was close cooperation between the Air Forces, with joint development of a fighter aircraft in 1960s. IAF pilots also trained Egyptian pilots from 1960s until 1984. 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, more than 15 defence delegations have visited Egypt, and most significant in 2021 was visit of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, 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). Reciprocally, Air Marshal Mohamed Abbas Helmy, Commander-in-Chief of Egyptian Air Force visited India from 04-07 July 2022. In addition to having discussions with CAS, he also called on COAS, CNS and Defence Secretary to further mutual cooperation. The EAF Chief also visited HAL at Bengaluru, Software Development Institute and Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE). The landmark event of year 2022 was the official visit of Sh Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble RM to Cairo from 18-21 Sep 2022. Hon’ble RM called on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his counterpart General Mohamed Zaki. Fruitful discussions on various aspects of Defence cooperation and ways to further enhance mutual exchanges were held during the meetings. A MoU on Defence Cooperation was signed on 19 Nov 2022 by both the defence miniters.

  1. Most of the current defence cooperation is determined by Joint Defence Committee (JDC) activities. JDC meetings have been held alternately in either country, followed by exchange activities. In addition, the following activities also contribute to defence cooperation:-

(a) Courses: DSSC and NDC courses are offered on a regular basis, in which Egyptian officers are given training in India and Indian defense officers train in Egypt. Delegations from NDC, War Colleges and CDM also undertake study tours on a regular basis to Egypt. Recently, a study tour from NDC visited Cairo in October 2021. Presently, two Army officers are undergoing NDC and General Staff Course being conducted at Cairo from July 2022 to Jun 2023.

(b) Exercises: Egypt participated in the Multinational Training Exercise for friendly African countries held at Pune in March 2019. The first ever IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, Dessert Warrior, was held in Egypt from 29-31 October 2021. Two officers from Egyptian Navy participated in Multilateral Indian Naval Exercise MILAN-2022 held from 25 Feb-04 Mar 2022. For the first time, Indian Air Force participated in Tactical Leadership Programme of Egyptian Air Force Weapons School from 23 Jun – 22 July 2022. Cyclone Exercise between two countries is being held 14-27 Jan 2023 in India.

(c) Ship Transits: Indian Navy Ships undertake port calls at Egyptian ports. INS TABAR (a Talwar class guided missile frigate) made a port call in Alexandria port in late-June 2021 and again in September 2021 during its return journey to India. Ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (IN Ships Tir, Sujata and CGS Sarathi) called on the Red Sea Naval port of Safaga, Egypt in May 2022 as part of their five nation Overseas Deployment. Further, INS Tarangini called on at Alexandria Naval base in May 2022 and INS Kochi visited Port Safaga in late-Jun 2022 with Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet onboard. In July 2022, INS Tarkash made a port call at Alexandria. INS Tarangini executed a port call at Port Said in the month of Oct 2022 during its return journey to India. INS SUMITRA executed a port call at Safaga on 31 Dec 2022- 3 Jan 2023.

(d) Aircraft Transits: Egypt regularly provides transit facilities to IAF and IN aircraft ferrying to/ from Russia, Europe and the USA. During crisis of Covid-19 in Apr/May 2022, Egyptian authorities provided exceptional support and facilitated transit of Indian Air Force aircraft even at short notice.

(e) Defence Exhibitions: Indian DPSUs as well as some private firms participated in the first Tri Services Defence Exhibition (EDEX-2018) organized by Egyptian Armed Forces in Cairo in December 2018. Subsequently, high-level delegations from Egypt have attended Aero India 2019 at Bangalore in February 2019 and DEFEXPO INDIA 2020 in Lucknow in February 2020. 2nd edition of Egyptian Defence Exhibition EDEX-2021 was held at Cairo in November/December 2021. 10 Indian companies and institutions, including DRDO and Defence PSUs such as HAL, BDL, BEML and Munitions India Ltd. participated in EDEX and showcased their state-of-art products. DEFEXPO-2022 was organised in Gujarat in from 18-22 October 2022 and Egyptian delegation was led by Air Vice Marshal rank officer from Egyptian Air Force.

  1. The compassion and bond between the defense establishments of India and Egypt was also evident when the military leadership responded immediately to the tragic demise of CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat.

Cultural Relations

  1. 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. In its outreach activities, MACIC also organizes India Day(s) in Egyptian Governorates and universities on a regular basis.

  1. 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. 26th edition of the event was held in December 2022, across 6 Governorates in Egypt with participation of over 4600 students.

  1. While 2019 witnessed diverse cultural activities and exchanges between India and Egypt, the activities slowed down during 2020 and first half of 2021 as well because of Covid-19 pandemic. In early December 2021, an 11-member cultural troupe, ‘Anveshana Society for Performing Arts’ visited Egypt, which was sponsored by ICCR. The troupe performed at Ismailia, Port Said, at India-Bangladesh Maitri Diwas celebrations at Baron Palace in Cairo and at Sayed Darwish Theatre, Alexandria. In mid-August 2022, ICCR sponsored Kathak troupe also visited Egypt and performed in ‘India House’ on the occasion of 76th Independence Day and later in Alexandria on 16th August 2022, Port Said on 17th August 2022 and at Citadel Festival of International Music, Cairo on 18th August 2022.

  1. Yoga has gained immense popularity in Egypt. IDY was celebrated with much vigor in 2022; yoga events were held in Alexandria (on 12th June 2022), and for the first time, in Sharm Al-Sheikh (on 14th June 2022), Hurghada (on 18th June 2022) and Luxor (on 19th June 2022) as run-up to the IDY celebrations held on 21st June 2022 in Al-Azhar Park in Cairo. The main event in Cairo was inaugurated by the Minister for Sports Ashraf Sobhi.

  1. In the run up to 75th Indian Independence Day on 15th August 2021, MACIC organized various events as a part of AKAM celebration. 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. The Embassy also organized various activities as part of AKAM celebrations, including ‘Bollywood Music and Dance Evening’, Cycle Rally, tree-plantation drive, Makar-Sankranti celebration etc. On 26th January 2022, the Republic Day was also celebrated on a large scale with over 300 participants. The Mission also celebrated 76th Independence Day on 15th August 2022 with enthusiastic participation of over 350 community members, students and Egyptian friends of India.

  1. 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.

  1. 75th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between India and Egypt is being celebrated from 18th August 2022 onwards. The Government of Egypt released a postage stamp to celebrate the event and the Embassy issued a Press Release on 18th August 2022. The Embassy also organized a Photo Exhibition on India-Egypt relations and hosted a reception for dignitaries on 30th August 2022.

  1. A Qawwali troupe from India participated in the 15th edition of International Samaa' festival for Spiritual Music and Chanting, which was inaugurated on 17th September 2022. India was invited as a Guest of Honor, alongside Canada.

Indian Community

  1. 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.

December 2022

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