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Egyptian President Sisi on maiden India visit this week

PTI 25 Oct 2015, 18:14:30 IST

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will visit India for the first time this week to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit to boost bilateral ties and invite increased investment, especially in the new, ambitious Suez Canal project.

Sisi appreciates the close historical bilateral relations between the two countries.

Both countries are interested in developing the relations and build on it, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said late yesterday.

"Egypt's participation in the Summit is to highlight its leading role in Africa and internationally. It also highlights Egypt's keenness on boosting relations with Africa and India," Youssef said, adding that the president will start his trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE, India and Bahrain.

"The summit will discuss ways to develop the economic cooperation between India and Africa and enhancing the investments exchange as India became one of the best commercial partners to Africa," he added.

During his maiden visit to India, Egypt's former army chief Field Marshal Sisi will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a number of officials and businessmen.

He will discuss boosting economic cooperation between the two countries and increasing investment in Egypt especially in the new Suez Canal project.

The extension of the multi-billion Suez Canal project opened very recently.

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Dubbed as Suez Canal Axis, the 72-kilometre project is aimed at speeding up traffic along the existing waterway by reducing the waiting period of vessels, as well as boosting revenues for Egypt.

The project was inaugurated by Sisi on August 6 that runs part of the way along the existing canal that connects Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

Last month, Sisi and Modi met at the United Nations for the first time where they discussed on how this project offered investment opportunities for India.

During his upcoming visit, Sisi will also meet a number of African leaders on the sidelines of the summit to discuss security issues in the continent, Youssef said.

The President will start his international trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE to discuss ways of boosting relations in different fields.

India-Africa Forum Summit, the biggest diplomatic event to be hosted by India in the last three decades, will begin tomorrow.

The four-day congregation will see participation by 54 nations.

The forum is seen as India's effort to consolidate the historical ties with African continent, endowed with large reservoirs of minerals and hydrocarbons.