India and Egypt, both co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, On Tuesday sought to transform their ties into a strategic partnership by signing five pacts, including an extradition treaty, and agreed to jointly combat terrorism.
The pacts were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is visiting New Delhi after a quarter century to lay “a sound basis for a vibrant strategic partnership” with India which is seen as a rising economic and knowledge power in his country.
Besides the extradition treaty, the two countries also signed pacts on the use of outer space and in the areas of trade and technical cooperation.
An agreement on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports and another one on enhancing cooperation in the fields of health and medicine were also inked.
Manmohan Singh and Mubarak held “productive and fruitful” talks on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including terrorism, the intensification of economic ties, food and energy security, the global financial crisis and the peace process in the Middle East.
In a concrete step to transform ties that languished in the 1980s due to Cold War politics, the two emerging economies decided to establish a strategic dialogue at the level of foreign ministers.
The step “reflects our desire to upgrade our relations,” Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with Mubarak.
“The visit has opened a new chapter in our relations. We have both agreed that all conditions are ripe for transforming relations to correspond to contemporary realities,” Manmohan Singh underlined.
“We have agreed to make up for lost time, and to elevate our relations to a level that reflects our mutual strengths and complementarities," the prime minister stressed.
Mubarak called for “collective action” against terrorism and underlined the need for joint action by developed and developing countries “to reshape the international economic order” in the wake of the meltdown.
Mubarak also thanked India for its “key role” in the security of the Middle East and appreciated New Delhi's support for the Palestinian cause.
Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for nearly three decades, invited Manmohan Singh to visit his country and announced that Cairo will be hosting the 15th Non-Aligned Movement summit next year.