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Egypt and India bolster ties as Modi makes first trip to Cairo

CAIRO: Egypt and India discussed strengthening ties in areas including trade, food security and defence during a state visit to Cairo by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two countries said on Sunday (Jun 25).

On his first trip to Egypt, Modi met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egyptian ministers appointed to an “India unit” after a state visit by Sisi to India in January during which a “strategic partnership” was announced.

Both sides said talks on Sunday covered areas including trade and investment, renewable energy, information technology and pharmaceuticals.

“Prime Minister (Modi) and President Sisi also discussed further cooperation in G-20, highlighting the issues of food and energy insecurity, climate change and the need for Global South to have a concerted voice,” a statement from Modi’s office said, adding that the talks had also addressed defence and security ties.

India has been weighing a proposal to allow Egypt, which is facing a severe foreign currency shortage and has been struggling to attract foreign investment, to make purchases in rupees and to barter goods such as fertiliser and gas, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

There was no mention of the proposal in statements on Sunday.

India is seen as keen to boost ties with Egypt partly to secure trade through the Suez Canal. It exported US$4.11 billion of goods to Egypt in the last fiscal year, while importing US$1.95 billion.

During his two-day visit to Cairo, Modi also visited the 11th Century Al Hakim mosque, which was renovated by Bohra Muslims, a Shi’ite offshoot with a large presence in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, has rarely made public visits to mosques as prime minister.

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