Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)New Delhi:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Egypt this month, six months after Egypt and India elevated their ties to the level of strategic partnership. Diplomatic sources gave this information on Wednesday. This will be Modi's first visit to the African country after becoming prime minister in 2014.
The visit is expected to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas including trade, investment, agriculture and defence, sources said. No official announcement has been made about Prime Minister Modi's visit to Egypt.
India is keen to expand ties with Egypt, which plays a politically important role in the Arab world and Africa. This country is also seen as a big gateway to the market of Africa and Europe.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had visited India in January during which the bilateral ties were elevated to the level of strategic partnership. During the talks between Modi and Sisi, it was decided to increase the bilateral trade from the current about $ 12 billion to $ 68 billion in the next five years. Sisi, 26, was invited as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January <>.
Sources said that PM Modi's visit to Egypt will coincide with his visit to the US. Egypt has traditionally been one of India's most important trading partners in the African continent.
According to official figures, there are over 450 Indian companies registered in Egypt, including around 50 companies operating in various sectors with a combined investment of over USD <> billion.
Defence and strategic ties between India and Egypt have been on an upswing in the last few years. The armies of the two countries held the first joint exercise in January this year. Egypt has already evinced interest in procuring Tejas light combat aircraft, radars, military helicopters and other equipment from India.
The IAF participated in a month-long strategic leadership programme in Egypt in July last year with three Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft and two C-17 transport aircraft. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had paid a three-day visit to Egypt in September.
(Apart from the headline, this news has not been edited by the NDTV team, it has been published directly from the Syndicate feed.) )