Indian Prime Minister Modi Arrives in Egypt on a Two-Day Visit to Strengthen Ties

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a State Visit Luncheon at the State Department, Friday, June 23, 2023, in Washington

CAIRO (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a two-day visit to Egypt on Saturday, a trip that underscores the growing ties between the two countries.

Modi’s flight landed at Cairo’s international airport Saturday afternoon, coming from a four-day trip to the United States where he held talks with President Joe Biden, delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress, and met with top American and Indian executives.

It’s the first state visit to Egypt by an Indian prime minister since 1997.

Modi was received by Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, and the two inspected an honor guard and listened to the national anthems. Modi took to Twitter to thank Madbouly for “the special gesture of welcoming me at the airport,” and added, “May India-Egypt ties flourish and benefit the people of our nations.”

Modi and Madbouly then held talks on strengthening Egyptian-Indo ties, according to Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency. The talks were attended by senior government officials from both countries, MENA reported.

Modi also discussed “countering extremism and radicalization” with Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, Egypt’s Islamic jurist, said Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry.

Modi is scheduled to hold talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Sunday. The two countries would also sign a set of memorandums aimed at solidifying their ties.

Also on Sunday, Modi will visit a historic mosque, Al-Hakim, in Islamic Cairo, which was recently renovated with the help of the India-based Dawoodi Bohra community. He is also scheduled to visit the Heliopolis War Cemetery to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who fought in World War I.

Modi’s visit comes six months after el-Sissi attended India’s Republic Day parade as an official guest.

In January, el-Sissi and Modi agreed on measures to increase the two-way trade in five years to $12 billion, up from $7.3 billion in 2021-22. During el-Sissi’s visit, the countries also signed agreements on expanding cooperation in cyber security, information technology, culture, and broadcasting.

India is one of the top five importers of Egyptian products, including crude oil and liquefied natural gas, salt, cotton, inorganic chemicals and oilseeds. Major Indian exports to Egypt include cotton yarn, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, vehicle parts, ships, boats and electrical machinery.

More than 50 Indian companies have invested around $3.15 billion in various parts of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, textiles, garments, agri-business and retailing, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry.