NEW DELHI: India and Egypt share a bond that spans centuries, the ties can be traced back to the era of Ashoka, whose edicts hint at interactions with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
In the 20th century, the shared quest for independence and a focus away from bloc politics and towards development of their nations led to laying the foundation for a friendship between the then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser Nasser and the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This amicable relationship culminated in the signing of a Friendship Treaty in 1955, cementing the two nations’ enduring camaraderie.
The ties between both nations are further facilitated by the Indian diaspora in Egypt. There are approximately 4,000 Indians living largely in Cairo with smaller communities scattered across Alexandria, Port Said, and Ismailia. These expatriates are predominantly engaged with Indian firms or hold professional positions within multinational corporations. The Indian mission in Egypt plays an active role in assisting the Indian Community Association in Egypt (ICAE) and maintains close collaboration with its members.
Egypt plays host to approximately 976 Indian students, with the majority pursuing their studies at institutions such as Al Azhar University, Ain Shams Medical University, and Cairo University. This community contributes to the rich tapestry of cultural exchange and cooperation. Egypt has occupied a significant role as
one of India’s foremost trading partners in the African continent. The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement, in force since March 1978, has been instrumental in fostering economic collaboration. The last decade has witnessed remarkable growth in bilateral trade, surging by more than fivefold. In 2018-19, the volume of bilateral trade touched $4.55 billion. Despite the pandemic, trade sustained with a marginal dip to $4.5 billion in 2019-20 and $4.15 billion in 2020-21.
New high post-Covid
Post-pandemic, the fiscal year 2021-22 bilateral trade skyrocketed to $7.26 billion. India’s exports to Egypt surged to US$ 3.74 billion, and Egypt’s exports to India reached US$ 3.52 billion.
According to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), India is the sixth most important trading partner in the fiscal year 2021-22. India further held the distinction of being Egypt’s sixth-largest export destination and a significant source of imports.