New Delhi, Nov 18 : India and Egypt today signed several agreements to boost economic ties.
The agreements were signed after talks between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohaningh and the visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Earlier today, President Mubarak, held discussions with External Affairsinister Pranab Mukherjee.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Mukherjee signed the agreements in the presence of Dr. Singh and President Mubarak.
The agreements are in the areas of trade and technical cooperation, space, health and pharmaceuticals and free diplomatic visa and MoUs including the extradition treaty.
Dr. Singh while addressing the Egyptian delegation said that Mubarak's visit has opened a new chapter in the bilateral relations and efforts will be taken to elevate the relations to a level that would reflect mutual strength and complementarities.
"Our total bilateral trade has increased four fold in the last five years and now exceeds three billion dollars. However, this is still below the potential. We agreed that more efforts were required. We agreed to expand cooperation in priority areas such as hydrocarbons, information technology, agriculture and biotechnology," he added.
Mubarak said: " With the financial crisis of massive proportions, this crisis requires that all countries developed and developing move on two fronts, the first is to address the immediate recessionary pressures in the world economy, related efforts need to coordinated across nations and aimed in the developing countries towards the less privileged in our societies."
Later in the day, President Mubarak will be presented the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, which has been conferred on him for the year 1995.
Traditionally, Egypt has been an important trading partner of India. The two countries now want to expand the basket of trade and are negotiating a free trade Agreement.
Enthused by a 112 percent surge in the bilateral trade in 2006, both countries want to boost their two-way trade to 10 billion dollars by 2010. Their mutual trade is currently poised to touch over three billion dollar mark.
The two countries are old friends and the founders of the non-aligned movement and South-South cooperation.
Mubarak is visiting India after 25 years. He last came here in 1983 on a state visit.