Cairo: External Affairs Minister SM Krishna
on Sunday met the Egyptian leadership and established first
contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood that is set to dominate
the post-Mubarak political landscape of the country.
On a three-day visit to Egypt, the first by a senior
Indian leader after last year`s revolution, Krishna met the
head of current military-led government, Field Marshal Mohamed
Hussein Tantawi, Prime Minister Kamal Al Ganzhoury as well as
his counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr.
Krishna thanked Tantawi for the "extraordinary
cooperation" extended by Egypt in evacuating more than 3,000
Indians from eastern Libya last year, and the protection
extended to major Indian investment projects during the
However, the most significant meeting was with Mohamed
Morsy, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm
the Freedom and Justice Party, that has emerged as the largest
force in the first post-Mubarak Egyptian parliament.
With the Brotherhood appearing set to dominate the
political landscape of Egypt, Krishna`s meeting with its
political wing`s leader can be seen as part of efforts to
achieve a smooth transition in ties with the new dispensation
in the country.
While India had fair ties with the Mubarak-era regime, the
meeting with Morsy would help Krishna understand the
expectations of the Islamists-led new political regime that is
now expected to hold sway over the country`s policies.
On his part, Morsy told Krishna that India is "a very
important friend" of Egypt and "can play a major role in the
"Egypt is facing major economic crisis and India should
help the Egyptian people," he told Krishna when he called on
him. The Freedom and Justice Party emerged as the largest party
winning 235 of the 498 seats in the Egyptian parliament in
what many term the first free and fair election in the
Prime Minister Al Ganzoury said Egypt was keen to enhance
trade cooperation with India.
Krishna and his counterpart also signed several
agreements, including an MoU on cooperation in the field of
environment protection, cultural exchange programme for the
next three years and a work plan for agricultural cooperation.
An MoU was also inked between Egyptian Organisation for
Standardisation and Bureau of Indian Standards after the two
foreign ministers chaired the sixth session of Egypt-India
Joint Commission Meeting.
"We reviewed the entire gamut of our bilateral relations
during the just concluded Joint Commission Meeting... India
has always viewed Egypt as a stabilising factor in the region
and in the world," Krishna told the media at a joint press
He said the two ministers accepted recommendations of four
sub-committees on Trade & Economic Co-operation, Scientific &
Technical Co-operation, Cultural Co-operation and Information
Technology on strengthening bilateral relations in these
"India-Egypt relations are over five millennium years old.
Egypt has consistently played a vital role in the Non Aligned
Movement and championed the cause of the developing world.
"Our bilateral relations constitute a factor of peace and
stability in international relations," said Krishna after
signing of agreements between India and Egypt.
He said he welcomed the Egyptian prime minister`s proposal
that a multisectoral Indian delegation with representatives
from both private and public sectors visit Egypt to focus on
concrete areas of economic cooperation.
"(I have) requested the Egyptian side to identify specific
sectors of their interest so that we can take the proposal
forward," Krishna said.
During his visit here, Krishna also met Arab League
Secretary General Nabil El Araby.
"Arab world and India share civilisational links, common
cultural values and political beliefs and enjoy strong
economic ties. With these activities, we propose to strengthen
India-Arab cooperation further," Krishna said.
He said Indian investment of USD 2.5 billion is generating
employment for 30,000 Egyptians, and pointed out that none of
the Indian companies who had invested in Egypt have left the
country after the Revolution.
"In fact, one more Indian factory has been established in
Ain Sukhna," he said.