NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Egypt and meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the country's envoy to India said today, and asserted the warmth in ties as expressed by both the leaders exhibits there are avenues for greater bilateral cooperation.
"The Indian Prime Minister has in-principle accepted the invite sent to him by our President and confirmed that he will visit.
But, work needs to be done through diplomatic channels to see the time availability," Egyptian Ambassador Hatem Tageldin told reporters here.
Interacting with the media on the sidelines of an event, the envoy also said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to visit his country later this year and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan is expected to attend an international bio-diversity conference there in November.
Earlier, addressing a gathering during a function held here to mark the opening of the first unit in India of Port Said-based paint major Kapci Coatings, Tageldin described the Egypt-India relationship as "exceptional" and said it was important to "explore more avenues of cooperation".
"Indian Prime Minister and our President have met four times since they both came to power in 2014.
And, a fifth meeting is expected to take place in Egypt," he said.
In September 2017, Modi had met el-Sisi in the Chinese port city of Xiamen and held talks with him to strengthen bilateral ties.
"Egypt-India exceptional relationship goes years back to the Non-Aligned Movement and trade routes, which played important roles in cementing trade exchanges and relationships," he said.
The envoy also said that at present, the economic climate is "favourable and much more conducive" for creating further opportunities, especially through initiatives like Make in India, Clean India and Skill India.
"The warmness in relationship expressed by both our leaders paved the way for more cooperation in many fields," he said.
The envoy said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, had met Modi during his India visited in March and extended an invitation letter to him, sent by President el-Sisi.
The ambassador said the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 3.5 billion in 2017.
The combined investment of Indian companies in Egypt stands at 3.5 billion, he said.
"Both governments have taken numerous steps for developing solid base for the bilateral relationship and the business community can take this cooperation further," he said, adding the prospects of enhancing the bilateral ties is extremely encouraging.
Asked on defence cooperation, the envoy said, "India is an important partner in different fields, and there is potential to enhance defence cooperation.
And, that includes areas in defence, security, counter-terrorism, and joint ventures in military production."
The foundation stone for the first unit of Kapci Coatings in India was laid in April 2015 in Bengaluru, the envoy said.
"There were a few issues, including in land acquisition in initial days, but I met the officials of the then Karnataka government, and they facilitated the process.
The company plans to open four more units in India and will invest USD 50 million on these five projects.
From here, they will also explore ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries," Tageldin said.
At present, 52 Indian firms operate in Egypt while three Egyptian companies are in India, he said.