New Delhi [India], January 16 (ANI): Ausaf Sayeed, secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday said India was 'looking forward' to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's visit to India as the chief guest for the Republic Day function.
It is the first time that an Egyptian President has been invited as a chief guest for the Republic Day function, Sayeed told ANI during an interview.
Sayeed said, "It is the first visit as a chief guest by an Egyptian President. Of course, we did have leaders from the Arab world before. We had the Saudi King also before and others. But, this is the very first time from Egypt."
He further said, "Egypt is a very important bilateral partner for us. We are celebrating 75 years of our engagement with Egypt. In fact, it was one of the first countries with which we have established our diplomatic relationship, just the first week itself when we became independent. So, we are looking forward to this visit."
Speaking to ANI, the top Indian diplomat said, "Egypt is an important player in the Arab world, not only in the Arab world but in Africa. So, our relationship also goes way back, both in the historical context as well as modern context."
Ausaf Sayeed said the Egyptian President, during his visit, will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"President Sisi would have bilateral engagement with our Prime Minister and also have discussions on the bilateral, regional and international issues. He will also have a business meet and then participate in the Republic Day celebrations," Sayeed told ANI.
Calling the two-day visit of the Egyptian President as "very engaging", Sayeed said the MEA will share more information as the visit nears. He further said the visit is important for diplomatic outreach and economic engagement.
He said, "We have a very engaging two days with him. As and when the visit nearsby we will share more information with you but as of now we are looking forward to this important visit as was mentioned in the seminar, very important from the context of our diplomatic outreach not only diplomatic outreach but also for our economic engagement. Many companies are looking forward to enhance their presence in Egypt."
To a question on how the invitation to Egypt for a G20 event in India will add to ties between the two countries, Sayeed said the Egytian ambassador has already said they want to work with India to enhance the voice of the south in platforms like G20.
Earlier, during an ICWA Panel Discussion on 'India-Egypt Ties in Changing Global Order', Sayeed said, "Our focus today is to strengthen this bond and at the same time nurture new connections. Egypt is our valued partner and has a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability in the Arab world and Africa."
He further said, "India-Egypt partnership has immense potential and can achieve greater heights based on commonalities of Global South which we historically share. We have excellent cooperation in multilateral forums and good understanding on regional and global issues." (ANI)