India and Egypt Joint Working Group Meeting on Counter-Terrorism

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    • Recently, the third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism was held in New Delhi.

    Key Takeaways

    • Both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism.
    • The two sides reviewed threats posed by terrorist groups globally and in their respective countries and regions.
    • Deliberations on steps needed for counter-terrorism priorities and actions undertaken to counter terrorism, violent extremism conducive to terrorism, radicalization, and terror financing.
    • Security cooperation is decided as priority pillars of the India-Egypt strategic partnership in the future.
    • The two sides underscored the need for taking concerted actions against all the UNSC designated terrorist entities.
    • They called upon all countries to take immediate, sustained, irreversible and verifiable actions to ensure that no territory under their control is used as a terrorist safe haven and to bring to justice perpetrators of terrorist attacks.
    • Both countries have called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist networks, infrastructure, their financing channels and preventing cross-border movement of terrorists.

    Future Collaboration

    • Both sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral counter-terrorism collaboration, including through training and capacity building efforts, exchanges of good practices, and information sharing.
    • The Joint Working Group to counter-terrorism cooperation including in the United Nations and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).

    Importance of Egypt for India

    • Historical friends: India and Egypt have a history of close contact from ancient times with the relationship between the two countries was strengthened by President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, leading to a Friendship Treaty in 1955.
    • Political Relations: Both countries share a close political understanding based on a long history of contacts and a diplomatic relation at the Ambassadorial level was made on August 18, 1947.
    • Strategic location: Egypt is strategically located at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe making it an important gateway for India besides being a key partner for India’s engagement with the African continent.
    • Energy security: Egypt is an important source of oil and gas with Indian companies have invested in oil and gas exploration and production in Egypt, and there is significant potential for further cooperation in this area.
    • Economic relation: India and Egypt have strong economic ties, with bilateral trade of approximately USD 7.26 billion in 2021-22 and both countries are working to increase their trade volume to USD 10 billion by 2023.
    • Trade: India-Egypt has annual trade worth US $ 4.4 billion with US $ 2.2 billion of Indian exports and US $ 2.19 billion of Indian imports.
      • India’s top exported items to Egypt:  Meat (19.9% ), Tobacco and Manufactured Tobacco(5.5%), Motor Cars(4.2%) and Cotton Yarn (4.1%).
      • India’s top imports from Egypt: crude oil, fertilizers, chemicals, and textiles
    • Defense engagements: Both countries participated virtually in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers Conclave at Bengaluru. Recently, the first-ever joint exercise between Indian Army and Egyptian Army, Cyclone 2023, began its special heliborne operations at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
    • Indian community: There are around 3200 people in Egypt with the majority of Indians located in Cairo, but there are also a small number of families in Alexandria, Port Said and Ismailia.
    • Geopolitical partner: India sees Egypt as a key partner in its “Act East” policy, which aims to increase engagement with Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

    Challenges in the India-Egypt relationship

    • Limited sector: The two countries face economic challenges owing to fluctuations in oil prices which forms a large share in trade volume and thus there is a need to diversify their economies and create jobs.
    • Economic challenges: Despite the significant trade between the two countries, there are still some issues. For example, Indian companies have faced challenges in investing in Egypt due to bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of transparency in the business environment.
    • Political instability: Egypt has seen significant political upheaval in recent years, which has created some uncertainty in the relationship between the two countries. For example, the issue of Jerusalem.
    • Security challenges: Both India and Egypt face security challenges related to terrorism and extremism. 
    • Cultural differences: India and Egypt have different cultures and traditions, which can sometimes create challenges in building stronger relations. 

    Way Ahead

    • Despite some challenges in the India-Egypt relationship, both countries have shown a commitment to improving ties and addressing these issues in a constructive manner. 
    • With continued cooperation and dialogue, the relationship between India and Egypt is likely to grow stronger in the coming years.

     Source: TH