It is quite clear that Islamic nations have continuously demonstrated respect towards India and its Prime Minister, as well as respected his inclusive and pluralistic style to administration. According to the National Spokesperson for the BJP, Prem Shukla, pseudo-secularists in our nation need to take note of this.
When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the ‘Order of the Nile,’ the highest civilian accolade that the country has to offer, it was the thirteenth award of this kind that Modi had earned in the previous nine years. Egypt is also the sixth Islamic country to do so; the other five are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and Bahrain and Palestine respectively.
The presentation of these prizes by such Islamic nations, of which three are powerhouses in the Islamic world, is without a doubt a smack in the face for the pseudo-seculars who have frequently referred to Prime Minister Modi as communal, and who try to mould the public perception of him as being anti-minority in the country. In addition, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, lauded Prime Minister Modi for his inclusive and pluralistic policies, and he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister.
In addition to these accolades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been awarded the prestigious Legion of Merit by the United States government as well as Russia’s highest civilian decoration. This demonstrates the widespread acclaim and support that the Prime Minister of India enjoys across the globe.
Not only is this Prime Minister Modi’s first journey to Egypt, but it is also the first official bilateral visit by any Indian Prime Minister to the country since 1997. Additionally, this visit celebrates the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Egypt and India. All of these factors combine to make this trip a major landmark. The majority of India and Egypt’s previous visits have been for the purpose of attending international gatherings. As a result, this visit is quite crucial in light of the fact that it will deepen ties between the two countries.
In recent years, there has been a discernible improvement in the level of cooperation that exists between India and Egypt. During their meeting in 2023, Egyptian President El-Sisi attended India’s 74th Republic Day parade as the chief guest. During the meeting, both countries agreed to boost their existing bilateral relationship to the level of a “strategic partnership.”
During his trip, Prime Minister Modi went visited the Al-Hakim Mosque, which dates back to the 11th century and was repaired with the assistance of the Dawoodi Bohra community. By doing so, he highlighted the importance of the spirit of cultural exchange and collaboration. In addition to this, Prime Minister Modi made a trip to the Heliopolis War Cemetery to pay his respects to the brave Indian troops who served Egypt during the First World War and gave their life for the country.
Egypt and India, two of the world’s first known civilizations, each have a rich historical background. When the Pharaoh of Egypt Sahure dispatched ships to the ‘Land of Punt’ in 2750 BCE, this event is considered to be the beginning of the earliest civilisational link between India and Egypt. There is sufficient historical background and evidence to establish ‘Punt’ being peninsular India. This event dates back approximately 5000 years. The fact that Egyptian mummies were wrapped in Indian muslin that had been coloured with indigo as early as the second millennium BCE demonstrates that economic links were already well established between the two civilizations.
Edicts written by Ashoka, which were discovered much afterwards on in history, make reference to his interactions with Egypt under the reign of Ptolemy II. If we look at recent history, we can see that the Indian revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi and the Egyptian revolutionary Saad Zaghloul had the same objective, which was to achieve freedom from British colonial control. The relationship between Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru eventually developed into a deep friendship between the two men.
Additionally, on August 18, 1947, just three days after India achieved its independence, India and Egypt made the announcement that they were establishing diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. The Friendship Treaty between India and Egypt was signed in 1955, and it was a critical factor in the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. In addition, there are striking similarities between the uprisings that brought about a change in government in India in 2011 (the Jan Lokpal Bill campaign) and Egypt in 2013 (the Tahrir Square uprising), both of which took place in the same year.
Since 2014, when there was a change in the regime in Egypt, there has been a greater emphasis placed on political collaboration between India and Egypt. During a meeting that took place in 2015 on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the leaders of both parties got together to discuss counterterrorism, economic engagement, and other regional issues.
During the state visit that the Egyptian President made to India in 2016, a joint statement was issued in which it was outlined that subjects such as political-security cooperation, economic engagement and scientific collaboration, cultural and people-people linkages as the basis of a partnership for a new era were discussed. The total value of goods exchanged between the two countries during the 2018–2019 fiscal year was $4.55 billion.
India and Egypt have inked a number of agreements to strengthen their collaboration across a variety of fields. For example, Prasar Bharati and the National Media Authority of Egypt recently signed a memorandum of understanding to allow the sharing of content and the creation of joint projects.
In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt showed its support for India by sending three planes bringing medical supplies. These planes were on their way to India. In addition, the Embassy of India in Egypt made a contract with the Egyptian pharmaceutical business M/s EVA Pharma to purchase three million doses of Remdesevir from them.
When Egypt’s wheat shipments were hampered as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Egypt looked to India for a supply of wheat. During the previous fiscal year, 2021-22, the value of the transaction reached a new all-time high of $7.26 billion. The current level of defence cooperation between India and Egypt is being significantly shaped by the Joint Defence Committee (JDC), which plays an essential role in the process. The 8th Joint Development Committee Meeting was held in New Delhi in 2018, and the 9th Joint Development Committee Meeting will be held in Cairo in 2019.
Exercises such as the Multinational Training Exercise, which took place in Pune in 2019, the first-ever joint tactical air exercise named “Desert Warrior,” which took place in 2021, and an exercise called “Exercise Cyclone-I,” which engaged the special forces of both the Egyptian and Indian armed forces were some of the activities that have taken place between the two countries’ armed forces.
There were rumours that India was in negotiations with Egypt to sell the Egyptian government an indigenous fighter aircraft known as Tejas. In addition, Egypt has been asked to attend the G20 meeting as a special guest while India holds the presidency of the group.
The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in Egypt encourages cultural collaboration through a variety of activities. These activities include participation in local cultural events as well as classes in several Indian languages, exhibitions, film screenings, and seminars. The ‘Sawt-ul-Hind’ is a magazine that highlights the cultural interchange that takes place between Pakistan and India as well as the close relationship that exists between the two nations.
During Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to Egypt on June 25, 2023, he and Egyptian President El-Sisi signed a joint declaration to elevate the degree of collaboration between their countries to that of a strategic partnership. The two leaders also explored the possibility of increasing tourism and cultural contact between Cairo and New Delhi by simplifying flying routes between the two cities.
Other subjects that were brought up throughout the discussion included communications, information technology, the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, higher education, renewable energy, and green hydrogen.
We were honoured to have President El-Sisi join us as the principal guest for this year’s Republic Day celebrations, and he did not disappoint. According to the Prime Minister of India, “These two visits within the span of a few months are a reflection of our rapidly evolving partnership with Egypt.”
Since 2014, our relations with Egypt have been steadily improving, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first Prime Minister of India to conduct a state visit in the past two and a half decades, so we can see how this has happened. The improvement in our relations with Egypt is in keeping with our objective of looking westward.
Consistent involvement of this kind with Egypt will assist us in addressing pressing challenges relating to the environment, terrorism, and national security. It will speed up the process of growth in both countries by improving trade relations, addressing energy challenges, fostering economic cooperation, and enhancing infrastructure development.
The relations offer a great deal of promise because of their contribution to a more stable situation in the Middle East. Over the next five years, there is the possibility for Egypt and India to increase their commercial exchange to a total value of $12 billion. Despite what some self-proclaimed secularists in India may assert, other Islamic nations and India’s prime minister have received the respect that is due to them both. Furthermore, the religious leaders of these nations have praised Modi for the inclusive and pluralistic policies that he has implemented.