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Post-Mubarak, Egypt leaning towards NAM

world Updated: May 21, 2011 23:34 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Post revolution, Egypt wants “non-aligned” to be the flavour of its foreign policy and is looking towards India for revitalising the movement of which India is a founding member.

Many would argue that India has traveled far since the days of the non-aligned movement (NAM), but the foreign policy of the new Egypt is already going against some settled certainties of Hosni Mubarak-regime.

Nabil el-Araby, the foreign minister of Egypt, who is also former ambassador of his country to India, will be visiting New Delhi on May 30. Official sources said in the preparatory talks, Cairo will lay the emphasis on a new direction in “thinking,” based on the “tenets of non-alignment.”

Araby is a valued guest for another important reason — Egypt’s 76-year-old foreign minister, was also recently elected as the secretary-general of the 22-country Arab League.

"India and Egypt have shared a special relations for decades. We are the exponents of the non-aligned movement," an official said. The NAM has 118 members.

Araby will be meeting external affairs minister SM Krishna and other senior officials during his visit.

In fact, Krishna had to tweak his calendar to be in New Delhi to receive his Egyptian counterpart, as he would be in India for two days after visiting four African countries after the India-Africa summit which gets over on May 26.

But India currying extra favour with new Egypt can create heartburn in many countries, especially the US.

Under Araby's leadership, Egypt is making assertive shifts in its foreign policy—its being more aggressive on the Palestine question, is a tougher critic of Israel, has brokered a long-awaited reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas. Cairo is also resetting its ties with Iran aimed at repairing the frayed relationship with Tehran.

Egypt gets $1.3bn in annual financial aid from the US.

And the new thinking in the Egyptian establishment is set to annoy the US as well as change the course of Arab politics.

“Every country sets out its foreign policy keeping in mind what is best for it. So New Delhi- Cairo relationship cannot be seen through an India-US prism”, opines an official.