India pledges full cooperation to Egypt, to enhance tradeMay 31st, 2011 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) India Monday pledged full support to Egypt in its reconstruction efforts, including in the process of holding elections, as the two countries resolved to scale up their trade and investment.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held wide-ranging talks with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Al-Araby over a host of bilateral, regional and international issues, including the intensification of trade and investment, the ongoing democratic ferment in West Asia and North Africa and the Palestine issue.
Egypt, which has been taking concrete steps to usher in democracy after the revolution early this year dislodged the three-decade old Hosni Mubarak regime, sought India’s technical assistance for holding parliamentary elections in September, to be followed by presidential polls.
India agreed to support Egypt in democratic institution-building.
“Foreign Minister El Araby informed me of the changes that are taking place in the Arab world, including in Egypt and the next steps that his government is planning to take. I reiterate that India is ready to extend all possible cooperation,” Krishna told reporters at a joint press conference with Al-Araby.
An Election Commission of India (ECI) team had visited Egypt in April and familiarised itself with the electoral process and salient aspects of its election management system. The Egyptian side wanted some sample bottles of indelible ink for use by the Egyptians during the elections.
Araby was on his first international visit since taking charge as foreign minister in Egypt.
Krishna, on his part, made a strong pitch for scaling up trade and investment between India and Egypt, the two pillars of the Non-Aligned Movement.
“We have both agreed that there exists immense potential to enhance our economic relations and that we would jointly work towards it,” he said. India’s bilateral trade with Egypt is estimated to be around $3 billion. There are 45 Indian companies operating in Egypt with an investment of $2.5 billion.
The two ministers discussed issues related to cooperation in the field of information technology, satellite connectivity and tele-medicine.
They also discussed a host of regional and international issues, including the Palestinian issue, the Middle East peace process and the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation in which Egypt played a major role.
Krishna conveyed India’s thanks and appreciation to Egypt for its assistance in evacuation of Indians from Libya. “This assistance was vital for ’safe homecoming’ of more than 16,000 Indians from Libya,” he said.
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