Ancient civilisational links between India and Egypt are set to get a boost and greater connectivity when Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, arrives in India for an official visit on Friday.
The first visit by an Egyptian Foreign Minister to India since 1997 will give an impetus to the bilateral relationship that has, in recent years, not seen the kind of synergy that existed in the hey-day of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Among other aspects, tourism is likely to get a boost with the number of flights between the two countries expected to grow to seven a week in the next six months.
"Foreign ministers of both the countries would meet shortly and a memorandum of understanding would be signed to increase the number of Egypt Air flights to seven from the two at present," Egypt’s Ambassador to India, Mohammed Higazy said on Thursday. He was speaking on the sidelines of the 5th India-Egypt Joint Commission meeting.
During his three-day official visit, Gheit will hold detailed delegation-level meetings with his counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, at which the focus, officials said, would be economic, with Information Technology a key issue.
The last Joint Commission meeting between the two countries was held in Cairo in 2001.
Indian investments in Egypt exceed $400 million. GAIL, the Oberoi Group, the Aditya Birla Group, IFFCO, Kirloskar Brothers, etc. are already represented in Egypt.
Several other Indian companies too are reportedly evaluating sizeable investment opportunities in Egypt.
Inclusive of POL, the trade turnover between the two countries has increased from $396.27 million in 2000-2001 to about $1.2 billion in 2005-2006.
Higazy said investments by Indian companies in Egypt are likely to grow to $1.7 billion in the next one year from the current level of $660 million.