Counter-terrorism efforts, increasing radicalisation and cyber security were among the issues that dominated PM Narendra Modi’s dialogue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, with Modi saying in a media statement later that both leaders agreed concerted action is necessary to end cross-border terrorism.
The summit also saw India and Egypt elevating their relationship to the level of strategic partnership in an effort to ramp up defence, political, energy and economic ties.
It also fits in neatly with the understanding in India that Egypt is one OIC country which has not fallen for Pakistan’s propaganda campaign against India on the Kashmir issue. The two countries also signed five MoUs, including one for cooperation in cyber security, and discussed ways to strengthen food and healthcare security. The reference to cross-border terrorism is significant for India as it helps the government put the spotlight on Pakistan for its support to India-focused terror groups active on Pakistani soil.
Modi said India and Egypt, the most populous Arab country, were worried about the spread of terrorism happening around the world and that they’re unanimous in the opinion that terrorism remained the most serious security threat to humanity. Modi said “Both countries also agree that concerted action is necessary to end cross-border terrorism. And for this, together we will continue to try to alert the international community.”
Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra later said both leaders strongly condemned the use of terrorism by countries as a foreign policy instrument and called for zero tolerance to terrorism and for “all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terror groups, whatever their motivation may be.”
Modi also said there’s immense potential for enhancing security and defence cooperation between India and Egypt. “In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in joint exercise training and capacity building between our armies. We have also decided in today’s meeting to further strengthen cooperation between our defence industries. Enhance the exchange of information and intelligence related to counter-terrorism.”
El-Sisi acknowledged efforts to deepen defence ties and said the 2 countries had a common position on the need to counter terrorism and extremism. He said, adding misuse of cyber space to spread extremist ideologies and radicalization is a growing menace.