Egypt has always valued its friendship and strong bonds with India. For centuries, the peoples of these two ancient civilisations have engaged in cultural and economic exchanges. In the modern era, our leaders Saad Zaghloul and Mahatma Gandhi struggled against colonialism in the quest for freedom and national independence.
The legacy of the firm stand that Nasser and Nehru took against violations of territorial integrity in Goa and Suez, by signing the Treaty of Friendship in 1955 and founding the NAM, reflects the synergy between both countries and sets the foundation of their dynamic and mutually beneficial partnership. Today, common aspirations bring Egypt and India even closer in the quest for prosperity in both nations.
Moreover, enhancing economic relations is an important objective that we seek to achieve. Indian investments in Egypt amount to $3 billion in petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles among others. Egypt, which has free trade agreements with Arab, African and European regions, provides a great opportunity for more Indian investments.
The Egyptian government is adopting policies to diversify the economy and achieve tangible development on the long term. New laws and regulations have been introduced to create an environment conducive to foreign investment and small and medium enterprises, while new mega projects such as the Suez Canal Area Development project are potential areas for further cooperation with India. Meanwhile, Egyptian investors are keen to benefit from the opportunities offered by important initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Invest India’ and some have already started to inject investments in the Indian market.
Cultural exchange and people-to-people relations represent another aspect of engagement, essential to forging a long-lasting friendship. Egyptians enjoy various activities brought by the annual festival of ‘India by the Nile’, and soon Indians will get a flavour of Egyptian culture during the first festival of ‘Egypt by the Ganga’.
In countries with a large youth bulge, such as ours, cooperation in the field of modern education and technology is key to create a better future. This is also a field that we are looking forward to enhancing our cooperation with India in, particularly in light of the many cultural and social characteristics both peoples share.
The millions of young people who swarmed into Tahrir Square in January 2011 demanding social justice, and who revolted again in June 2013 asking for a more inclusive political system that upholds human rights and freedoms and preserves the Egyptian national identity, have forged the path for Egypt’s transition to democracy.
During the past three years the Egyptian people have successfully adopted a new constitution, elected a new president and House of Representatives. They are determined to establish a more democratic system that upholds the principles of equality, citizenship, human rights and freedoms and that ensures a life with dignity for all.
Egypt has also been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism, which has taken advantage of the security vacuum in some countries in the region due to ongoing conflicts and crises. Al Azhar institution is a beacon of moderate Islam and plays a key role in rectifying the religious discourse in order to reflect the real essence and virtues of Islam, which calls for tolerance, peace and acceptance of the other.
Reaching political solutions to the ongoing crises in Syria, Libya, and Yemen is of paramount importance and is vital to bring an end to the bloodshed and the human suffering of their peoples and preserve the unity and territorial integrity of these countries.
India as a strategic partner Egypt looks forward to maintaining international peace and create a secure and better future for our peoples and the next generations.