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Trade on agenda as Egyptian President Morsi arrives Monday

Trade on agenda as Egyptian President Morsi arrives Monday

New Delhi: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi arrives here Monday on a three-day visit, after a short stopover in Islamabad, to boost bilateral ties with India, especially in trade.

Morsi is arriving at the head of a high-level delegation of ministers and business leaders. The ministers in the entourage include the ministers of communications and Information Technology, trade and commerce, and investment.

The visit comes at a time when trade between India and Egypt has witnessed a record 30 percent jump.

Egypt has also requested India to set up a centre of excellence in IT at the famed Al Azhar University in Cairo. It is also seeking India's help in launching a nano satellite.

Economic engagement between the two sides has been growing despite the political tumult in Egypt.

Bilateral trade has notched up a "record increase" of 30 percent to $4.5 billion from $3.2 billion earlier. Calculated in the Indian fiscal year terms, it works out to $5.2 billion, said an official.

Around 50 Indian companies, including Aditya Birla, Kirloskar and Dabur, have a presence in Egypt. Indian investment in Egypt is $2.5 billion, and it is also the seventh largest trading partner of Egypt.

During the visit, the Egyptian business delegation will hold meetings with India's three apex business bodies - FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM, with FICCI playing a lead role. Morsi is to address a business event organised by the apex chambers of commerce of India.

Morsi is slated to hold delegation level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday. Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj are to call on Morsi. President Pranab Mukherjee will host a banquet in his honour.

Both countries are keen to further deepen and diversify the growing bilateral engagement during the president's visit.

During his short visit to Pakistan, Morsi is expected to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, and other prominent politicians and parties in Islamabad.

Morsi is likely to sign several agreements with Zardari during his one-day visit.

"President Morsi's decision to choose Pakistan as the first south Asian country for a bilateral visit manifests Egypt's desire to add a new chapter to its bilateral ties with Pakistan," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said on Saturday.


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