New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Describing the relationship between India and Egypt as “exceptional”, Egyptian Ambassador to India Hatem Tageldin on Tuesday said that it is time for the business communities in both countries to play a role in boosting bilateral ties.
“Egypt and India share exceptional ties that go back many years starting with NAM (Non-Aligned Movement),” Tageldin said at an event held to mark the opening of a production facility in India of Egyptian paints manufacturing company Kapci Coatings.
“It is now time for the business communities to play their role in boosting the bilateral ties,” he said.
Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi have already met four times after assuming office in 2014, the Ambassador expressed the confidence that the bilateral relations are set to be enhanced with a favourable economic climate.
“Trade volume between our countries stood at $3.5 billion in 2017,” he said.
While Indian companies have invested around $3.5 billion in Egypt, three Egyptian companies that have entered India under the ‘Make in India’ programme have made a combined investment of $150 million.
Tageldin said that Kapci Coatings is planning to invest $50 million to set up factories in other centres following the opening of its first production facility in Bengaluru.
Headquartered in Port Said, Kapci Coatings has invested $20 million in India till now and plans to export its products from the Bengaluru facility to the Southeast Asian market.
“I thank the government of India and the state of Karnataka for the cooperation extended and hope that they will encourage more Egyptian companies to enter the Indian market,” Tageldin said.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines, he said that preparations are in full swing through diplomatic channels for a visit by Modi to Egypt. President Sisi had extended an invitation to the Prime Minister during his visit to India in 2016.
The Ambassador said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had called on Modi during his visit to India in March for the India-Egypt Joint Commission Meeting.
“The Prime Minister confirmed to our Foreign Minister about accepting the invitation,” he said.
With defence and security being key areas of cooperation in the India-Egypt relationship, Tageldin said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will also visit his country.
“We are interested in defence production in India as also training of our armed forces,” he said.
He said that Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan will also visit Egypt to attend the UN Biodiversity Conference in the resort city of Sharm El Sheikh in November.