NEW DELHI: India and Egypt plans to step up their ties this year in many areas, including counter-terrorism, defence, cyber security, agriculture and IT. “2017 will be very exciting because we are starting on a very strong base of the interactions in 2016,” India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya told PTI. Bhattacharya said that exchanges in counter-terrorism field will continue between the two countries this year as both parts aim at defining and broadening the scope of cooperation. “In the political area, we will be working for the next ministerial exchange at the Foriegn Minister level. We have just concluded a set of very important meetings. We had our first joint working group on cyber-security, there is also the counter-terrorism working group,” he said.
“We will have also the joint defence committee which will look at the specifics of this. We are also hoping that we will be able to have high level military exchanges,” he added. He also said there is a great cooperation that is on going in the field of military training. “A senior Indian officer has joined the National Defence college in Egypt and like wise an Egyptian officer is to start the course in Delhi at the National Defence College and this is the highest level of defence training we have,” he said. “We will also continue the usual trainings and exercises. We are again hoping to have a ship visit to the Egyptian ports later in the year and to be able to do some maneuvers with the Egyptian navy at that time,” he added.
The major landmark of 2016 was President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to India that has opened the possibilities for cooperation in several areas among both countries, he said. “I would expect the defence cooperation engagement this year will be stepped up considerably as a result of the discussions Prime Minster Narendra Modi had with Sisi as they outlined a number of steps,” Bhattacharya said. He also saw a huge potential in the field of trade. “This is perhaps the most promising area. Early in February will be receiving a delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which is coming at an invitation of Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI)”, he said. “We are also working with the agriculture committee for the parliament for a possible exchange in the field of agriculture, agro-processing, aromatic plants and herbs which can be used for medicinal purposes,” he said. “I visited Beni Suef (located about 115 km south of Cairo) recently and we had some good discussions on the possibilities of using Beni Suef as a centre of medicinal plants and aromatics,” the Ambassador said. An Egyptian business delegation will be visiting India which will be focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and textile. Another Indian delegation is expected to come to Egypt in April which will be fouced on IT, he said.