New Delhi: Egypt
Tuesday pushed for India to join its ambitious Suez Canal corridor
project as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian
President Mohamed Morsi met here for talks to forge closer
cooperation in economic and other fields.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president who came to
India after a day-long visit to Pakistan, said he welcomed India's
contribution in the Suez Canal corridor project that is aimed to
become a bridge connecting Africa with Asia.
Speaking to the media after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, Morsi said the corridor project once ready would make Egypt
a hub for India's exports to the West and boost Indian exports to
The 190-km corridor project aims to turn the Suez Canal banks into
a global economic zone and earn billions of dollars in revenue for
Egypt. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
has offered to invest Euro one billion in the project.
Morsi said in his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh both
sides had agreed to reinforce bilateral relations in various
areas, including political, economic, military, cultural and
tourism and "agreed to promote ties till they reach the level of
India offered to share its experience in the field of IT,
renewable energy, services, electronics, small and medium
enterprises, manufacturing and fertilizers. Both sides inked seven
agreements, including five MoUs, in the field of cyber security,
India is setting up a solar energy project in a village in north
Egypt and also setting up a centre of excellence in IT at the well
known Al Azhar University.
Morsi, who is facing troubles back home with a court ordering
cancellation of the April 22 parliamentary elections, thanked
India and its people for support for his country post the 'Arab
Spring' revolution two years ago.
He said bilateral trade, despite the political tumult in his
country, had grown to $5.5 billion, growing $2.5 billion in the
past one year alone. Morsi, who has brought along a high-level
delegations comprising seven minister-level officials and top
business heads, said Egypt was keen to attract more Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India "deeply appreciates" the
fact that Morsi has undertaken a state visit to India despite his
pressing domestic commitments. "This is a reflection of his
personal commitment to our relationship," he said.
The prime minister conveyed India's full support to Morsi and
"offered to share our experience as he ably leads his nation in
building strong institutions and frameworks for democracy, social
justice and inclusive economic development".
He said Egypt's location "as a bridge between Asia and Africa,
astride a major global trade route, together with its skilled
human resources, makes it an attractive business destination for
Both sides have agreed to foster productive partnerships in
socio-economic development programmes, skill development, higher
education, agriculture and health care and also agreed to enhance
defence exchanges and cooperation.
On Palestine, Manmohan Singh conveyed India's support to the
Palestinian cause and expressed deep appreciation for the role
played by Egypt in trying to forge unity between the Palestinian
groups - Hamas and Fatah -- and work towards a peaceful
On Syria, both sides condemned the violence and agreed on the
urgent need for a peaceful resolution of all issues through
Both sides also agreed to intensify efforts on issues that affect
developing countries, and increase coordination in various
international forums, including the United Nations, G-77 and the
Non Aligned Movement.
India and Egypt are founders of the Non-Aligned Movement and the
two countries shared a very close relationship till the sixties
during the time of Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and
Egyptain President Gamal Abdel Nasser. But the relationship cooled
off thereafter and the 30-year rein of previous president Hosni
Mubarak were not marked by close ties.
Morsi has been keen to take Egypt's foreign policy away from its
pro-West orientation and shift the focus back to Asia and the