For the first time in the illustrious history of the Kartavya Path, an Egyptian military contingent marched across its length while saluting the dais as the country’s army took part in India’s 74th Republic Day parade in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a show of strong diplomatic ties between the two nations.
“We have the pleasure of participating in India. This is the first time we are visiting India. It is a great country with civilisation as old as ours in Egypt. We both are old civilisations. We have been here for the last few days and practised with our friends in the Indian Army. Our relationship is strong, and we love supporting each other,” said Egyptian Colonel Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel Fattah El Kharasawy, who led the contingent, while addressing the media on Wednesday.
The Egyptian military contingent led by Colonel El Kharasawy, consisting of 144 soldiers, which represents the main branches of the Egyptian armed forces, marched along with Indian contingents on Thursday. The Egyptian contingent at the parade consisted of a 144-strong military contingent and a 12-member band that marched behind them. Two officers behind the contingent leader carried a ceremonial sword each, and an officer held the Egyptian flag.
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The march of the Egyptian contingent and the visit by the Egyptian President are seen as an effort to bolster existing ties between India and Egypt. The two countries have had robust defence ties since the 1960s.
India took part in Egypt’s aircraft industry in the 1960s, following an understanding between then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The countries collaborated in developing the Helwan HA-300 fighter jet.
As per information on globalsecurity.org, both the countries signed a contract in September 1964 for the development of the E-300 engine. Indian Air Force pilots also trained Egyptian pilots from the 1960s until 1984.
Recently, the first-ever joint exercise between the special forces of both armies, named “Exercise Cyclone-I”, took place in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on January 14, 2023. The 14-day-long exercise aimed to strengthen defence cooperation between the two nations with a focus on sharing professional skills and interoperability of Special Forces in desert terrain while undertaking counter-terrorism, reconnaissance, raids and other special operations.
The exercise, carried out in the deserts of Rajasthan, engages both the contingents to progress in special forces skills such as Sniping, Combat Free Fall, Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Designation, sharing of information on weapons, equipment, innovations, tactics, techniques and procedures.
Along with long-standing military ties, India and Egypt on Wednesday elevated their relationship to a strategic partnership as well. The two countries will endeavour to take joint action on politics, security, defence, energy, economy, cross-border terrorism and radicalisation.
PM Modi, after deliberating with the Egyptian President, said, ”We have decided to elevate our bilateral relations with Egypt to a strategic partnership. Under the India-Egypt Strategic Partnership, we will develop a long-term framework for greater cooperation in the fields of politics, security, economics and science.”
PM Modi also announced that the two countries have also decided to take the bilateral trade between their countries to $12 billion in the next five years. As per the Ministry of External Affairs, the bilateral trade between India and Egypt reached USD 7.26 billion in 2021-22. The bilateral trade agreement between the two countries has been operational since March 1978. The Egyptian President will conclude his visit to India and depart for Egypt on January 27.
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