India and Egypt had a fulfilling year in 2016 as the leadership of the two countries agreed to step up their defence and security cooperation to tackle the twin challenges of terrorism and radicalisation besides enhancing economic and people-to-people engagements.
This year also witnessed some of the high-level meetings between the two countries including the visit of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee in September to discuss ways to develop bilateral cooperation in different fields.
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A series of decisions to combat terrorism were taken in wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and al-Sisi as the two countries have been engaged in staving off the threat of extremism and radicalism.
Identifying terrorism as one of the “gravest threats”, they decided to have greater information and operational exchanges, apart from ramping up defence cooperation, signalling a major shift in ties. Both sides also inked a pact on maritime transport which will facilitate maritime commerce and transit of naval vessels.
India’s Ambassador to Cairo Sanjay Bhattacharyya told PTI that his wishes for the coming year are to deepen and intensify the exchanges between India and Egypt in different fields and see the continuation of high-level engagements.
The ambassador also added that 2016 has witnessed a number of cooperation opportunities, which will be increased in the coming year.
One of the key cooperation moments in 2016 is that the Vocational Training Centre on Textiles in Shoubra El Kheima, Cairo, was formally inaugurated in August with the support of the Indian government.
The Vocational Centre is one of the largest training centres in Egypt offering several courses in printing, electrical, mechanical, energy, textile, upgraded to state-of-the-art technologies in the field of spinning, weaving, dyeing and printing.
In September, another key cooperation moment took place after the first Indian Chair in Egypt at the Ain Shams University was operationalised with the arrival of Indian professor Naidu Subbarao.
The Chair, which is at the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, is not only the first Indian Chair in Egypt but also in the Arab world.
Next year will see more cooperation opportunities in different areas, the Ambassador said.
“On the defence side, I think the tempo has been very very strong and we would like to see more exchanges and more concrete collaborative work on the two sides,” Bhattacharyya said, adding he is very satisfied with the progress that has been made in the field of security during the last year.