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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on his first State visit to Egypt, will meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi later in the day.  The two leaders had decided to elevate the relationship to the level of strategic partnership during El-Sisi’s visit to India as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations this year. Modi’s first official engagement in the country on Saturday was a meeting with the India Unit, a group of high-level ministers constituted by El-Sisi in March to enhance India-Egypt relations. Seven members of the Egyptian Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, were also present during the discussions on deepening trade relations and strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.

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“Discussions focused on deepening cooperation across a range of areas including trade & investment, renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, digital payment platforms, pharma and people to people ties,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Twitter. This is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Egypt in 26 years.


On Saturday, Mr. Modi also met the Grand Mufti of Egypt Dr Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam and interacted with the members of the Indian diaspora and the Bohra community. The meeting with Bohra community came ahead of his visit to Cairo’s historic Al-Hakim Mosque scheduled for Sunday. The Mosque has been restored with the efforts of India’s Dawoodi Bohra community, which has been consistently involved with the renovation since the 1970s.

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Mr. Modi will also visit the Heliopolis War Cemetery to pay respects to the Indian troops who gave their lives in the ultimate act of valour for Egypt during World War-1. This memorial was built by the Commonwealth, although it is dedicated to the 3,799 Indian troops who lost their lives in different First World War conflicts in Egypt.


Earlier, in a special gesture, Modi was welcomed at the Cairo airport by Madbouly with a warm embrace, and accorded a ceremonial welcome and a Guard of Honour. “I am confident this visit will strengthen India’s ties with Egypt. I look forward to talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and attending other programmes,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted after landing in Cairo. Earlier, the Indian diaspora, dressed up in traditional attire, gathered in large numbers at the Ritz Carlton Hotel here to welcome Modi.

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Waving the Indian Tricolour, members of the Indian community, dressed in traditional attire, welcomed the Prime Minister to chants of ‘Modi, Modi’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ when he reached the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo. An Egyptian woman, Jena, dressed in a saree, greeted Modi with the popular song ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Chhodenge’ from the movie Sholay. Impressed by the rendition of the Kishore Kumar-Manna Dey number, the Prime Minister expressed surprise when Jena said she knew very little Hindi and had never visited India