India and Egypt sign agreements to promote trade, investment and combat terrorism

On Wednesday, India and Egypt agreed to boost trade between the two countries during a visit by the Egyptian president that underscores Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to boost relations with other emerging economies.

Modi and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi agreed on measures to increase intra-regional trade within five years to $12 billion. Trade totaled $7.3 billion in 2021-22. The two countries also signed agreements on expanding cooperation in cybersecurity, information technology, culture and broadcasting.

Modi and Sisi have expressed concern about the disruption of food supplies and other vital resources due to the war in Ukraine. Modi sought Egypt’s cooperation in combating cross-border terrorism, extremism, and cyber threats.

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Egypt’s economy has been strained by the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has pushed oil and other commodity prices to record levels. One of the world’s biggest wheat importers, it got help from the World Bank last year to finance its grain purchases as supplies from Ukraine were disrupted.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as chief guest, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, ahead of India’s annual Republic Day parade, Thursday.
(T. Narayan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Imports from India, which has excluded countries like Egypt that face severe shortages even as most wheat exports are banned, helped bridge the gap.

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India is among the top five importers of Egyptian products, including crude oil, liquefied natural gas, salt, cotton, inorganic chemicals, and oilseeds. Major Indian exports to Egypt include yarn, cotton, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, spare parts for cars, ships, boats, and electrical machinery.

Sisi called on Indian companies to increase investment in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. More than 50 Indian companies have invested around $3.15 billion in various parts of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, textiles, apparel, agribusiness and retail, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

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India is the host country for the Group of 20 major economies this year, and Modi has invited Sisi to attend as one of its special guests.

Sisi will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on Thursday marking the anniversary of the adoption of the country’s constitution on January 26, 1950. India gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

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