India's Modi bestowed with highest state honour on first visit to Egypt
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has on Sunday awarded Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Order of the Nile, Egypt’s highest state honour, according to a spokesman for India's foreign ministry.
The move came during Modi's two-day trip to the North African country, which focused on strengthening ties between the two counties.
Modi, who arrived in Cairo on Saturday, was the first Indian prime minister to pay a state visit to Egypt in more than two decades. His two-day stop came six months after Sisi was in New Delhi as an official guest on India’s Independence Day.
Following his meeting with Sisi, the Indian PM visited an 11th-century historic Al-Hakim mosque, also in Cairo, recently restored with the support of the Indian Bohra community members, who live in Egypt.
Modi invited Sisi to attend the 18th Heads of State and Government Summit of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit that India will host in September.
Upgrade ties to ‘strategic partnership’
The two leaders held talks on Sunday at a summit level during which they signed a joint declaration on upgrading the strategic partnership between Egypt and India.
The agreement reflected "the longstanding common cultural heritage on the official and popular levels" and the "mutual will between the two countries to advance bilateral relations", according to an official statement by the presidency.
"The joint talks confirmed the distinct, historical relations between the two countries and the mutual commitment to pushing them to broader horizons across various fields, especially through [exchanging more] visits between senior officials from both states," a statement said, citing Ahmed Fahmy, spokesman to the presidency counsellor.
Modi’s visit at the invitation of Sisi, the first to the North African country by an Indian premier since 1997, included signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) covering a variety of business activities.
"I am confident this visit will strengthen India’s ties with Egypt. I look forward to talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and attending other programmes," Prime Minister Modi tweeted after he landed in Cairo on Saturday and was received by his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouli.
The trade agreements between the two countries amounted to $ US 6 billion in 2022, compared to $ US 5.3 billion in 2021, reflecting a 13.7 percent rise, according to a report by Egyptian state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported, which cited Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilizations and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Egypt’s imports from India, on the other hand, reached $4.1 billion in 2022 compared to $3.2 billion in 2021, a 26.4 percent increase, the report said.
“This is a remarkable year for our shared relations,” Modi said during a Saturday meeting with Madbouly.
During his visit to India in January, Sisi and Modi declared they would double bilateral trade to reach $12 billion US dollars within the coming five years.