The grandeur of India’s Republic Day bolstered by the display of made-in-India weapons and the emerging power of equality that women are enjoying in the armed forces now could not but have impressed the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. He must have been rendered proud by the contingent of the Egyptian Army being given the privilege of leading the march on the rejuvenated Kartavya Path that obliterates the colonial nomenclature of the Raj Path.
India-Egypt ties stretch back 75 years to a time when India was just shedding the colonial yoke and Egypt a few years later. The ties were particularly strong in the days of the Non-Aligned Movement. That they are being strengthened now to the level of a “strategic partnership” may not be just diplomatic speak. Egypt sports certain significance as a gateway to the Arab and African worlds and the country’s offer to not only double bilateral trade to $12 bn by 2028 but also boost India’s trade with Africa through its FTAs is an offer that must please the host.
The might of India’s defence prowess was impressive no doubt on a day of military precision that the Republic Day is famous for, but it is interesting that Egypt seeks the highly evolved soft power of its IT industry, besides the financial clout of the fifth largest economy of the world to invest in Egypt as well as lend strength to its medium and small enterprises with the power of IT.
As terrorism is the primary scourge of the modern era, it is only logical that India and Egypt have agreed to enhance cooperation in counterterrorism as well as defence ties. Both countries see dialogue as key to stopping the Ukraine war but may have been left unsaid was who is going to convince Russia’s Putin of finding a peaceful end to the conflict.
As it is India’s year of chairing the G-20 it has extended an invitation to Egypt to join the high table, which is the icing on the cake to a memorable visit for the first Egyptian head of state to be the chief guest at India’s R-Day....