Cairo: Seeking to inject new momentum in their ties, India and Egypt on Monday decided to put in place a bilateral framework for enhancing cooperation in key areas of security, counter-terrorism, defence and investments.
Both sides agreed to step up engagement in a range of potential areas while underlining the need to combat terrorism particularly the threat of dreaded terrorist outfit ISIS in an effective manner as visiting External Affairs Minister Swaraj called on Egyptian President Fattah Al-Sisi.
The Indian side suggested that the ISIS should be fought in a "determined and collective manner".
Swaraj later met her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry during which both sides reviewed entire gamut of relationship and decided to diversify defence cooperation from training of personnel to defence production.
Secretary East in Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadhwa, when asked about Swaraj's meeting with the Egyptian President said a bilateral framework of cooperation in all fields, particularly in the fields of security, counter- terrorism, defence and trade and investments are being put in place to step up engagement in these areas.
"The President said, and External Affairs Minister agreed with him, that it is a question of encashing on the goodwill that the people of the two countries have with each other into something concrete on the ground. He said Egypt and India should be working together visibly on issues of common interests to show to the world that we are together on certain issues," Wadhwa said.
Later Swaraj first had an one-on-one meeting with Shoukry before delegation-level talks.
"We discussed the three pillars of cooperation which are political and security pillar, economic and investments and people-to-people contact. We have decided to deepen cooperation in all the areas. There would be a joint commission meeting in January at the level of Foreign Ministers which will be preceded by a foreign office consultation in November," said Wadhwa.
Egypt has traditionally been one of India's most important trading partners in the African continent.
Trade between India and Egypt during the last financial year (April 2014 -- March 2015) has been recorded at USD 4.76 billion.
Most importantly, India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt -- the second largest export destination. India's imports from Egypt were worth USD 1.74 billion during 2014-15.
Indian businessmen have invested nearly USD 3 billion in about 50 companies in Egypt and have given employment opportunities to around 35,000 Egyptians.
In the meeting between Swaraj and Shoukry, both sides agreed to expand trade ties, holding that there are huge untapped areas for expanding the ties.
In her meeting with the President, Swaraj renewed the invitation to him from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the India-Africa summit later this year. She said Egypt has a special place for India.
"They also had a discussion briefly on the Palestinian issue. They also discussed situation in the region and on all these fronts I think our stands are similar. We will support each other at the United Nations as well," said Wadhwa.
Swaraj arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit.