Sanjay Bhattacharyya, the Indian Ambassador to Egypt, has said that New Delhi is highly interested in strengthening economic ties with Cairo.

Bhattacharyya issued the statement ahead of the third round of Egyptian-Indian Business Council (to be held on March 10) while explaining the current state of bilateral relations. He expressed satisfaction over the bilateral trade ties, saying that “transparency and predictability” could encourage more Indian business leaders to invest in the key Middle Eastern country.

The envoy claimed that the volume of trade between India and Egypt has increased by more than 60% in the last five years. According to Bhattacharyya, it is really remarkable because Egypt’s trade relations with other countries have stagnated during this period.

As far as the upcoming Egyptian-Indian Business Council is concerned, the seasoned diplomat said that officials of about 20 leading Indian companies would discuss ways of bolstering trade co-operation, especially in the fields of chemicals, leather, furniture and medicine, with the Egyptian authorities. The round will take place on the sidelines of the Joint Trade Committee that is scheduled to begin its meeting on March 9.

Meanwhile, Bhattacharyya urged Cairo to view economic issues between the two “friendly” nations in totality, saying: “For us, it means that we must have more trade, we must have more investment flows, we must have more technology flows, we must have greater co-operation in developing skills and sharing each other’s experience and we will continue to work on all these together.”

The envoy made clear that India would explore investment opportunities in different parts of Egypt, including the Suez Canal Zone. Bhattacharyya believes that Egypt is an ideal destination for the Indian investors to generate profits because the Abdel Fattah el-Sisi administration in Cairo eased the regulations on the investment laws and successfully implemented them.

“I have travelled to many of the governorates of Egypt. Two-thirds of Indian investments are already along the Suez Canal. In other words, Indian investors had long ago realised the huge potential of the Sue Canal area as a hub and I’ve been to Port Said and Ismalia and Ain Soukhna, where there are Indian investments and I found that the local authorities over there have been very very helpful in many instances to Indian investors,” the envoy told reporters.

In the last 10 years, around 50 Indian enterprises have invested about USD 3 billion in Egypt.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]