NEW DELHI: A day after taking a strong stand on India’s position on NSA-level discussions with neighbouring Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday embarked on a four-day two-nation tour of Egypt and Germany.
The visit is expected to see new vistas being opened in bilateral ties with particular focus on boosting trade and investment between the nations.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that the External Affairs Minister’s first destination would be Egypt. She would call on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, hold bilateral talks with her counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry and meet Secretary General of the League of Arab States Nabil ElAraby, besides other leaders.
Sushma is also scheduled to deliver a public address at the prestigious Diplomatic Club in Cairo, to be hosted by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs.
“The Minister’s visit to Cairo will provide an opportunity to review the entire gamut of our bilateral and multilateral relations and to exchange views with the Egyptian leadership covering a whole range of issues of mutual interest,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent.
Trade between India and Egypt during the last financial year (April 2014-March 2015) has been recorded at $4.76 billion.
Most importantly, India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt -- the second largest export destination. India’s imports from Egypt were worth $1.74 billion during 2014-15.
There has been diversification in the export basket of Egyptian products to India.
During her visit to Berlin from August 25 to 27, Sushma would hold meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and a number of other leaders.
Both the countries are expected to review bilateral relationship with a particular focus on enhancing economic engagement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Germany in April, during which the two countries had agreed to broaden bilateral economic cooperation.
A joint statement issued at the end of his visit had said that the two countries have established a robust roadmap for expanding their multi-faceted and mutually-beneficial ties and to further strengthen strategic partnership.
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in the European Union and one of the top ten global trading partners.
It is notable that Germany is the eighth largest foreign investor in India. Its foreign direct investments during January-November 2014 was valued at $995.7 million.
More than 1,600 Indo-German collaborations and around 600 Indo-German joint ventures are currently in operation.