Society for Policy Studies (SPS) in collaboration with the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt held a Round Table on the Indo-Egyptian Ties.
Venue: Director’s Conference Room, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
Key Speaker: H.E. Hatem Tageldin, Ambassador of Egypt to India
Chair: C. Uday Bhaskar, Director, SPS
In light of the recent visit by the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Egypt, the Society for Policy Studies (SPS) organized a Round Table with the Egyptian Ambassador to India to discuss the scope and potential of Indo-Egyptian bilateral ties and its regional dimensions.
Early partners in the Afro-Asian (Bandung) Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, relations between India and Egypt go as far back in time to the pre-independence era when their respective leaders—Mahatma Gandhi and Saad Zaghloul – had envisaged common goals for their national struggles while later Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdel Nasser fashioned a solidarity of countries that were not aligned with any ideological power bloc.
After a particularly arid period in ties and regime changes in both Cairo and New Delhi, relations picked up in recent weeks with the visits to Cairo of three Indian ministers, the last being the foreign minister last month.
The soon-to-happen India Africa Forum Summit between India and the 54 African countries is another political venture that is geared at reviving the ties between the two sides, with the participation of Egypt being of critical significance given its economic, political and cultural significance as the converging point for two very major regions: Middle East and North Africa.
India is currently the largest Asian trade partner that Egypt has, faring at the fourth position overall. The opening of the New Suez Canal Route and the creation of a 460 sq.km huge Exclusive Economic Zone around it serve as potential avenues for both the countries to increase their economic interactions.
Strategically, both the countries understand the necessity to stem the growth of the barbarous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that has not only destabilized the already volatile Middle East, but is also exhibiting the potency to be a major threat to the peace of the entire world. Demanding an international, collective operation against the ISIS, both India and Egypt believe that the upcoming UNGA meet of the world leaders can be a significant moment when a global initiative to tackle this menace can be galvanized.
Converging on many issues, relations between India and Egypt is experiencing an upward swing again. Looking forward to a brighter future together, participants, who included former ambassadors to Egypt and the region and domain experts, stressed on the need for building on the constructive political and economic changes that are taking place in the two countries, with the Egyptian participation in the IAFS being the first in the many encouraging steps towards it.