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Manisha asked: What is the significance of the recent visit of President Morsi of Egypt to India?

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  • Gulshan Dietl replies: India and Egypt have shared common visions of Afro-Asian Solidarity and Non-Aligned Movement, apart from mutually beneficial and warm bilateral relations for a long time. President Muhammad Morsi’s visit to India, therefore, needs to be assessed within that context. After the Arab Spring revolution, Egypt is seeking to accelerate economic development in the country and is reaching out to the world in that endeavour. Morsi was accompanied by the ministers of communication, information technology, trade, commerce and investment as also a high-level delegation of businessmen. Speaking at the apex business associations in Delhi, he invited Indian investments in Egypt.

    More specifically, he invited Indian investment in the proposed Suez Canal Free Trade Zone, which could eventually help in boosting Indian exports to Africa and Europe. He sought Indian help in setting up a centre of excellence in information technology in the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, in building a nano satellite for Egypt and in capacity building to solve the problem of unemployment. Economic, cultural, and tourism ties were sought to be strengthened. An agreement to enhance cooperation in defence and in international forums was reached. In Morsi’s words, the ties should be promoted “till they reach the level of strategic partnership.” Morsi’s visit should be seen as a renewal of our long and close relationship with Egypt.