Amid efforts by both countries to jointly promote values of peace and tolerance, Modi met Egypt Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Allam who, the Indian government said, appreciated “PM’s leadership in fostering inclusivity and pluralism’’.
PM Modi’s Egypt visit: Live updates
“They discussed the strong cultural & people to people relations between India and Egypt. Discussions also focused on issues related to social and religious harmony in society and countering extremism and radicalisation,’’ said the MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, adding that Modi told Allam that India would set up a Centre of Excellence in IT at the Dar-al-Ifta under the Ministry of Social Justice of Egypt.
A source said the meeting was in the context of joint efforts by India and Egypt to promote the values of tolerance and inclusiveness and to fight extremist ideologies. Allam has backed Sisi’s efforts to boost ties with India and was quoted as saying last month Sisi’s visit in January had “opened new horizons’’ of cooperation with India.
Modi earlier began his maiden state visit to the country with a meeting with Egyptian PM Mostafa Madbouly, who received him at the airport where the Indian PM was accorded a full ceremonial welcome, and the council of ministers formed by Sisi after his visit to India to improve ties between the 2 countries.
Before his meeting with Sisi on Sunday, Modi will also visit the Shiite Al-Hakim Mosque in old Cairo that was restored by the Bohra community and reopened earlier this year by the Egyptian government.
The discussions in the meeting with Madbouly focused on, according to government officials, trade and investment, renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, digital payment platforms, pharma and people-to-people ties.
After having signed an MoU for defence cooperation last year, India and Egypt are currently considering exchange of technology between their defence industries and also co-production. India is currently in talks with Egypt about the latter’s proposal for allocating a special land area for Indian industries in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
One of the most influential Arab countries, and the most population Arab nation, Egypt is among the few OIC countries that have shown some understanding of India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir, even though it didn’t participate in the G20 meeting in Srinagar last month. Egypt is among the special invitees for G20 this year and Sisi will travel to India for the summit in September.
Egypt has been supportive of India’s position on terrorism and during his visit to India in January, Sisi had joined Modi in condemning terrorism in all forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism. India and Egypt have also intensified cooperation under their joint working group on counter-terrorism for a more meaningful exchange of information.