Cairo: Taking forward issues of cooperation between Indian and Egypt, the Secretary East in the Ministry of External Affairs had broad ranging discussions with Egyptian representatives during his two-day visit here.
The visit, from December 21-22, came as a continuation of the momentum in relations initiated by the visit of the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and was an opportunity to review the gamut of bilateral relations, particularly the economic dimension.
Secretary East MEA Ashok Kantha called upon the Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, the Minister for Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, and the Head of the Constitutional Committee Amr Moussa to discuss issues concerning bilateral relations as well as broader aspects of regional and international cooperation.
There was also a specific focus on building political conversations between India and Egypt, not just on bilateral matters but on the broader issues that have affected the region, as well as cooperation at various multilateral fora.
The meetings also gave an opportunity to understand from the Egyptian side the various steps being taken to complete the roadmap to democracy and the return to constitutional governance.
On the successful completion of the visit, Secretary (East) remarked that "India values its historic relationship with Egypt. My visit was an opportunity to build on this partnership with one of the most important countries in the region, and to actively work towards its expansion across different fields".
Kantha said the trade and economic relationship between the two countries has shown steady growth, and they were working towards resolving outstanding procedural issues at the earliest.
He said that Egypt will be able to complete the roadmap to democracy at an early date.
"We know that the civilisational heritage of the Egyptian people will carry them through temporary difficulties. When Egypt started the bumpy road to democracy it looked east to the Indian example realising they had so much in common in terms of the past and present," he said.
Egypt has traditionally been one of India`s most significant trading partners in Africa. Bilateral trade grew from USD 5.42 billion in 2011-12 to USD 5.45 billion in 2012-13.
More than 50 Indian companies operate in Egypt, with a total investment of USD 2.5 billion, making a diverse range of products from PVC to seeds development.
No Indian company has left Egypt since the 25 January revolution.