The Importance of Sisi’s Visit to India to Build Economic Blocs for Egypt with the BRICS Group

Asian countries represented successful experiences at the level of economic blocs, hence Cairo’s quest to be part of global blocs of an economic nature, as this represents confidence in the ability of the Egyptian state to advance its economic sector. Recently, the Egyptian desire to be part of the BRICS group, which is an economic alliance that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China, and was established in 2006, and South Africa joined it later in 2010.

The BRICS Forum is an independent international organization that works to encourage trade, political and cultural cooperation among its member countries, taking into account that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa represent nearly a quarter of the global economy, and contributed to more than half of the global growth in the past years. About 30% of what the world needs in terms of goods and products, while its citizens represent 40% of the world’s population. The BRICS countries have adopted many initiatives to support cooperation among themselves in various fields, including the establishment of a development bank with a capital of $100 billion to finance development projects in the member states.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to India is a national strategic visit in the first place to facilitate Egypt’s entry and accession to the BRICS international economic grouping with the help of China and India. The countries of China and India, and Egypt is trying through these relations to enter the giant BRICS gathering, which contributes to strengthening Egyptian cooperation with the countries of the ASEAN group and its geographical and regional scope, through many axes and ways to develop cooperation with Egypt and those countries in various fields, especially economic, investment and development in light of The distinguished development experiences of India, China and those countries in achieving comprehensive development, as well as their progress in small, medium and micro industries, in addition to the convergence of all of them compared to the vision of Washington and the West towards a number of issues of common concern, primarily the Middle East issue, the Palestinian issue and efforts to combat terrorism.

On the occasion of President El-Sisi’s visit to India, this was not his first visit to India, as he had already visited India in 2016 as part of an Asian tour, during which he met his counterpart, Indian President Bernab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior officials in New Delhi.

We find that President El-Sisi’s current visit to India confirms that President El-Sisi possesses great political and economic experience, through which he can open more investment and economic fields for Egypt, looking forward during his visit to benefit from the economic renaissance of the state of India, and the rapid growth rates achieved by India. And growing, and Egypt here can benefit from this accelerating Indian experience, which will have positive effects on Egypt in several areas, such as: increasing exports, raising production rates, opening investment fields, and advancing the Egyptian trade and economy forward, given that India is one of the best countries in the world in terms of application. Democracy has achieved economic development in recent years, effectively penetrated the field of technology, and the Indian product occupies a strong global position with high quality, despite its population exceeding one billion and 200 million people, but it has been able to achieve self-sufficiency after its massive agricultural revolution.

Egypt and India have distinguished political relations, in addition to the trade and economic relations that have witnessed remarkable growth over the past years, despite the slow growth of the global economy.

It is expected that President El-Sisi’s visit to India will witness a list of new joint projects that India can implement in the new administrative capital, including a project to establish a medical city on an area of 350 acres, which includes the establishment of a number of hospitals and nursing schools, as well as the establishment of an Indian university specializing in medicine, according to what has been done as an agreement with the Indian side.

In my opinion, President El-Sisi’s visit to India is an important political and economic achievement that affirms Egypt’s presence as a pillar of stability and development in the region. For Egypt to present its economic program to facilitate its entry into the giant BRICS economic group with the help of China and India in the first place, in a way that facilitates the process of attracting foreign investments to Egypt and promotes economic advancement and improves the living conditions of the Egyptian people.

Here, it is worth noting the importance of President El-Sisi’s visit to India, in advancing Indian tourism to Egypt and increasing the number of Indian tourists coming to Egypt. and experiencing rapid economic growth. The Indian market also has many opportunities for the growth of our exports, especially in the sectors of chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, fruits and agricultural crops such as cotton, handicrafts such as textiles, leather, marble, granite, dairy products, metal industries, iron and steel, crude oil, and others.

Egypt will seek to activate the agreement between the Egyptian and Indian governments to increase the volume of trade exchange to $8 billion, knowing that Indian investments in Egypt are estimated at about $10 billion.

In this context, we find that Egypt and India have six trade cooperation agreements with India, namely: an agreement to develop intra-trade, an agreement to establish a joint committee, an agreement to encourage and protect mutual investments between India and Egypt, an agreement to avoid double taxation, and two memorandums of understanding in the field of trade and technical cooperation. And in the areas of small, medium and micro projects, and an agreement for a joint work plan to develop trade and joint investments between the two parties.

There is momentum in our relations with the Indian side, and a common desire through President El-Sisi’s visit to India to develop them to a higher level, given the existence of intense political cooperation between the two countries, and continuous interaction at the level of leadership and ministerial level, where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President El-Sisi on the sidelines of meetings The United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015. The Indian and Egyptian sides are interested in strengthening their relations with regard to issues of combating terrorism, strengthening economic partnership and common regional issues between them. India’s relationship with Africa through the Egyptian side.

There are 50 Indian companies operating in Egypt, with a total investment of about $3 billion. About half of these companies are joint ventures or wholly owned subsidiary companies of Indian investors, while the rest of the companies operate through their representative offices and implement projects for government agencies.

Among the largest Indian companies investing in Egypt is TCI Sanmar (whose investments amount to about one and a half billion dollars), and the company announced the opening of a new production line with investments amounting to $200 million, in addition to other giant Indian companies with branches in Egypt, such as companies Alexandria Carbon Black, Dabur India, Egyptian-Indian Polyester Company and Skip Paints.

Indian companies are also implementing several projects in the fields of railway signals, pollution reduction, water treatment, irrigation, shock prevention devices, and others. And the Indian company Hetero, a major company working in the field of medicine, launched a joint venture in May 2015 to produce a drug to treat hepatitis C, which was highly appreciated by the Egyptian government.

Among the projects that were carried out through the Indian grants to Egypt were distance education and distance medicine projects in the African continent, based in Alexandria University, a solar lighting project in the village of Agwain, and a vocational training center for textile technology in Shubra, Cairo, which are projects that have already been completed, in addition to To another project under implementation to establish an information technology center at Al-Azhar University.

Here we find that cooperation in the technical field remains an important part of our bilateral relations with the Indian side. Since 2000, more than 600 Egyptians have benefited from Indian technical and economic cooperation programmes. Many Egyptians have been trained under various programs such as India Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, India-Africa Forum Summit and CV Raman Foundation Fellowship. Many Egyptian diplomats joined the foreign diplomats course at the Indian Foreign Service Institute, and many Egyptian scholars and scholars benefited from the grants of the Indian C.V. Raman International Foundation for African researchers.

At the level of cultural cooperation relations between India and Egypt, the Maulana Azad Indian Cultural Center was established in Cairo in 1992, with the aim of enhancing cultural cooperation between the two countries through the implementation of the cultural exchange program, in addition to its interest in spreading Indian culture through Indian and Urdu language courses, yoga and dance courses. And seminars, film shows and exhibitions organized by the Indian Cultural Center, the Center also organizes many cultural festivals.

One of the results of the Egyptian-Indian joint cooperation in the field of education is the allocation of 110 grants by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Egypt within the framework of the Indian technical and economic cooperation programme.

In the field of scientific cooperation between India and Egypt, we find that both the Indian Council for Agricultural Research and the Egyptian Agricultural Research Council work together in the field of joint agricultural research according to joint cooperation agreements between them. There are also programs for cooperation in the field of science and technology that take place every two years between the two parties.

What can be concluded here, from the Egyptian moves on the level of foreign policy, is that Cairo avoids defining its relations and partnerships at the political, economic and military levels, which reflects prudence in decision-making and prompts Cairo to enter into partnerships and international economic blocs such as BRICS and others, which transforms Egypt economically and rapid development to broader horizons, with the aim of making Egypt an important figure in all regional and international equations on the basis of standing at the same distance from everyone, and moving in accordance with the requirements of the national interest and international law.

Dr.Nadia Helmy – Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit.