India, Egypt slam Pak\'s aid to terror
NEW DELHI: On a day when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attended India’s Republic Day parade as the chief guest, the two nations issued a joint statement late on Thursday evening "condemning the use of terrorism as a foreign policy tool". Both "emphasised the need for concerted and coordinated action by the international community with the objective of eradicating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Egyptian President "called for zero tolerance for terrorism and for all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism or provide sanctuaries to terrorists and terror groups -- whatever their motivation may be," the joint statement in a thinly veiled pointer at Pakistan said without naming it.
Calling for tough action against terrorism, the joint statement said, "They (the two leaders) reiterated their condemnation of efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist networks and their safe havens, infrastructure, their financing channels and preventing cross-border movements of terrorists."
According to the statement, the two leaders "appreciated that bilateral military-to-military cooperation has reached a new level. They agreed to further enhance and deepen defence cooperation in all fields, especially by exchanging technology between defence industries, widening the footprint of military exercises and... emphasised the need for co-production in the defence sector."
It was also announced that both leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to promoting the values of peace, tolerance, and inclusion, as well as working together to combat terrorism and violent extremist ideologies. "They emphasised the need for a holistic approach to counter terrorism and violent extremism, which includes inter alia disrupting the use of the internet and social media and preventing the use of religious centres to radicalize youth and recruit terrorist cadres," the statement said.
"The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism, the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law, the founding values of the Non-Aligned Movement and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states. The two sides take into consideration the cultural and social sensitivities of all states," the joint statement said.
On trade and investment, Mr Sisi sought Indian investments in Egypt, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, petrochemicals, energy, agriculture, healthcare, education, skills development and IT.
The joint statement said: "The two leaders appreciated the strong bilateral economic engagement and expressed satisfaction at the current level of bilateral trade at a record high of $7.26 billion in 2021–22, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. They expressed confidence that a bilateral trade target of $12 billion could be achieved within the next five years by both countries, by diversifying the trade basket and focusing on value addition."
It added: "Both leaders welcomed the expansion of Indian investments in Egypt, which is currently more than $3.15 billion. They agreed to encourage businesses from their respective countries to explore emerging economic and investment opportunities in each other’s countries. Egypt welcomes the flow of more Indian investments and promises to offer incentives and facilities as per applicable regulations and frameworks... In this context, the Egyptian side considers the possibility of allocating a special area of land for the Indian industries in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCEZ) and the Indian side can arrange for the master plan."
Modi meanwhile, tweeted, "I am grateful to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for gracing this year’s Republic Day celebrations with his august presence."