India and Egypt working towards building a strategic relationship with a focus on defense and security

New Delhi: India and Egypt are building an increasingly strategic bilateral relationship with a greater focus on defense and security aspects. While New Delhi looks to Cairo as its next big market for arms exports, Egypt is keen to play a key role in building its influence in Asia as a representative of both Africa and the Arab world.

India and Egypt now partner with each other in all aspects of their bilateral relations based on a strong historical and traditional ties. From wheat exports to Egypt to military-to-military ties despite restrictions on its shipments, India is leaving no stone unturned to bring Egypt into its strategic embrace.

An Egyptian Air Force delegation led by its Air Force chief Mahmoud Foad Abd al-Gawad will visit a “scout for India’s defense equipment” this month, as New Delhi seeks more markets for export of its defense goods. Searching. sale of brahmos Official sources told ThePrint in January this year.

India and Egypt are currently conducting a major exercise between the two air forces, which is said to be “a unique exercise with air assets in a large force engagement environment, simulating various conflict scenarios”. The aim of the exercise is to enhance defense cooperation and exchange of best practices between the two countries”, according to a statement issued by the Defense Ministry last week.

“In the current geo-political scenario, this exercise provides a unique opportunity to showcase the reach and capability of the IAF. It will also provide an opportunity to showcase our country’s expertise for deep indigenization of Sukhoi-30 MKI and parts and components manufactured in India by HAL.

Sources also said that encouraged by the BrahMos deal – for which talks are also on with Vietnam – New Delhi is increasingly looking to Egypt for a range of its defense products as Cairo continues to look at breadth and variety Its military hardware.

Sources said with concerns over India being unable to source repairs and spares for its Russian equipment, New Delhi is now dependent on Cairo to provide these as Egypt also has strong defense ties with Russia.

India and Egypt are also closely following the security situation in Afghanistan. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Had a meeting His Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukhi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last year to discuss the issue.

Former Indian envoy to Jordan, Libya and Malta Anil Trigunayat told ThePrint that Egypt was looking for more defense items with India, but “they want joint cooperation”.

“Egypt is an important country. It is a unique part of Africa and the Arab world. They continue to maintain good relations with Russia in terms of defense partnership, which is good for India.” He considers himself a key player. Huh. India also wants to cooperate with them in counter-terrorism.

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the balancing Act

According to another official, like India, Egypt is also playing a “fine balancing act” in which it is trying to maintain a balance not only between West and Africa but also with the Arab world and Asia. Thus, the country is now prominently involved in India’s foreign policy.

Indian Navy’s INS Kochi stationed in the Red Sea visited Port Safaga in Egypt last Tuesday. Personnel from both the navies also visited the ship. Upon her departure from Safaga on 30 June, INS Kochi participated in a maritime partnership exercise with Egyptian naval ships ENS Al Jubair and ENS Abu Ubadah (Lersen Class Offshore Patrol Boats).

“Cairo plays a hybrid role in Africa. Egypt is positioning itself as a political, economic and security gateway to the rest of the continent and an emerging strategic player with a growing security and intelligence footprint across Africa. A report by the Middle East Institute (MEI) said that Egypt has staked its geo-economic strategy on its engagement with the rest of the continent.

According to the MEI report, New Delhi and Cairo could “reshape” their bilateral ties to “establish a new security framework for West Asia that addresses challenges to the region in the light of the US’s pivot to the Indo-Pacific”. Is”.

From wheat exports to pharmaceuticals

Egypt has been a historical friend of India as both are founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. However, as a result of several high level visits between the two sides, India and Egypt are now considering a joint balancing act.

Starting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in 2015, which was followed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to India, the two sides have also been helping each other in other areas such as health and food security.

In 2020, during the peak of covid pandemic Prime Minister Modi spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi over the phone. Recently, despite banning the export of wheat from India, New Delhi ensured that Shipments continue to Cairo,

India export Kovid vaccines to Egypt in March 2021.

Egypt is now dependent on India for its wheat supplies as its main suppliers Russia and Ukraine have stopped doing so due to the ongoing war.

Last month, President Sisi is appreciated Indian pharmaceutical firm for his contribution to Egypt.

‘Security relationship with Egypt important’

According to Ashok Sajjanhar, a veteran diplomat, security ties with Egypt are vital to India’s own interests.

“Egypt is emerging as an important player and they are trying to maintain a balance between the same main powers as India. This too is part of India’s multi-alignment strategy. India is a partner with whom we can cooperate. Countries do not want to take sides these days. Countries are now looking after their own interests. They want more options and more possibilities,” he said.

Sajjanhar, who was India’s envoy to Kazakhstan, also said: “Egypt is geographically and politically spread over many different regions. It is the only country in Africa to do so. It is also part of the Arab world and it is also very close to the Gulf, so our partnership with Egypt will prove to be fruitful. India will find it useful to partner with Egypt in both these areas.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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