PM Modi’s Egypt visit is first bilateral visit by an Indian PM since 1997

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit to Egypt from June 24-25 will be his first visit to the key Arab nation, and the first official bilateral visit by an Indian PM since 1997, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said.

Addressing a special briefing on the PM’s upcoming visit to Egypt, he said that the previous visits by Indian prime ministers to Egypt have been as part of multilateral events.

PM Modi is visiting Egypt at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who had been Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations this year.

The PM will reach Cairo on the afternoon of June 24, from the US.

His first interaction will be with the India Unit, which is a select unit of high-level ministers set up by the Egyptian President in March this year after his return from India, the FS said.

“Over the last several months, we have seen an intense level of ministerial exchanges between the two countries,” FS Kwatra said.

EAM S Jaishankar visited Egypt in October last year and called on President Sisi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was in Egypt in September last year for bilateral talks, while Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav led the Indian delegation to the COP27 talks in Sharm El-Shaikh in Egypt in November.

And three-four ministerial visits have also taken place from Egypt to India, said the FS, adding that currently a ministerial level delegation led by the chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority is in India.

“This shows the extent of the very sharp focus that India and Egypt are placing on strengthening all aspects of the relationship,” he added.

After arriving in Cairo, PM Modi is to have an interaction with the small Indian community in Egypt and is also likely to meet some of the prominent personalities in Egypt, the FS said.

The following day, June 25, the PM will begin the day with a visit to the Al-Hakim Mosque, an 11th century mosque that has been refurbished by the Bohra community, he said.

The PM would then visit the Heliopolis Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Cairo to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers who died fighting in Egypt during World War One. During his Cairo visit, EAM Jaishankar had also visited the cemetery to honour the memory of Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the war.

The PM will then hold his official engagements with the Egypt President, which will include bilateral talks and the signing of various agreements.

After which he will embark for India.

FS Kwatra said that the Grand Mufti of Egypt was in India on a “very successful visit”.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, was in India in early May on a six-day visit at the invitation of an official body to deepen cultural links between the two sides and for meetings with Indian interlocutors to foster interfaith understanding.

India has also invited Egypt as special guest during India’s presidency of the G20.

The FS termed PM’s Cairo visit as a “quick reciprocal visit, coming within six months of President Sisi’s visit to India”.

“We expect and are confident that the visit will not just ensure continuing momentum to the relationship but will also help it expand to new areas of trade and economic engagement,” he added.

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