India, Egypt to now explore opportunities in renewable energy, trade: Jaishankar

Updated on Oct 16, 2022 05:12 AM IST

Addressing a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry following their meeting in Cairo, Jaishankar said bilateral trade had recorded the highest-ever figure of $ 7.2 billion last year.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar meets Egypt foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday. (Dr. S. Jaishankar Twitter)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar meets Egypt foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday. (Dr. S. Jaishankar Twitter)
By, New Delhi

India and Egypt have stepped up defence and security cooperation and will explore opportunities in renewable energy, trade, tourism and connectivity, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

Addressing a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry following their meeting in Cairo, Jaishankar said bilateral trade had recorded the highest-ever figure of $ 7.2 billion last year.

Jaishankar, who is on his first visit to Egypt as foreign minister, said back-to-back trips by him and defence minister Rajnath Singh underline India’s commitment to take relations with Egypt to a higher level.

“In recent times, we have also stepped up our defence and security cooperation,” he said, adding that there was an important exercise between the air forces of the two sides and regular visits by Indian warships to Egypt.

The two ministers had discussions on how they can collaborate more closely in defence, especially defence production, he said.

The ministers reviewed two-way trade and agreed on possibilities for further growth. Without giving details, Jaishankar said both sides have to work to address “market access issues”. Indian companies have invested more than $3 billion in Egypt, and more investments worth almost $1 billion are in the pipeline, he said.

The two sides also discussed how to increase air connectivity and tourism, and explored opportunities in new and renewable energy, education, tourism and connectivity.

The next round of bilateral political consultations will be held in 2023, and the two sides are hoping to hold a meeting of their counter-terrorism working group. In the field of capacity-building and training exchanges, more than 1400 Egyptian officials have been trained by India.

Jaishankar said an Indian university and an Egyptian enterprise had reached an understanding on setting up a tertiary education institution, and that greater cooperation in drugs and pharmaceuticals will be mutually beneficial. “Many of our companies do see Egypt as a production hub for this region and perhaps even other parts of Africa,” he said.

The two sides also discussed regional and global issues and Jaishankar noted that both countries have a “tradition of thinking beyond our narrow national interests” and a history of working together.

He said he and Shoukry discussed the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions for fertilisers, food and energy security. Jaishankar also shared India’s perspective on the Indo-Pacific and discussed how to create a more resilient global economy. There was also an exchange of views on the Palestine issue, and Jaishankar said Egypt, which has been invited by India as a guest country for next year’s G20 Summit, will “bring great value” to the discussions.

In a set of tweets, Jaishankar described his meeting with Shoukry as warm and productive. He said the two sides discussed their exchanges in IT, agriculture, infrastructure, cyber security and SMEs. He also extended India’s support to Egypt for its COP27 presidency.

“As states active in shaping global debates, discussed developments in our regions and exchanged views on the Ukraine conflict and Indo-Pacific. A polarised world needs independent thinking and voices of reason,” Jaishankar tweeted.

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