Egyptian President visiting India after 25 years

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New Delhi, Nov 15 (UNI) Breaking a hiatus which lasted quarter of a century, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will arrive here tomorrow on a three-day State visit, signalling an upswing in relations between India and one of the most powerful nations in the Arab world.

Mr Mubarak had visited India last in 1982 and 1983.

During the upcoming visit from November 16-19, the two countries are expected to sign three agreements, including Extradition Treaty, and seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for boosting cooperation in several areas.

The two countries are also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to boost trade and investment ties, Egyptian Ambassador to India, Dr Mohamed Higazy, said.

Mr Mubarak, who was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1995, has not received the award so far and will be presented it during the upcoming visit.

The External Affairs Ministry said, ''Several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.'' Mr Mubarak would be accompanied by a large delegation, including Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Information Minister Anass Ahmed Nabih El-Fiqqi, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Tarik Mohamed Kamel Mahmoud, Minister for Trade and Industry Rasheed Mohamed Rasheed and other senior officials and businesspersons.

He would meet President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition L K Advani would call on the Egyptian President.

Ms Patil will host a State Banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary.

The Egyptian Ambassador said the delegation-level talks between Mr Mubarak and Dr Singh would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in various areas, including IT, space, human resource and health.

On the trade front, the Indian investment in Egypt was expected to reach two billion US dollars soon from the present 500 million dollars, the Ambassador said.

On the political side, the talks would focus on the West Asia situation, reforms to international organisations, including the UNSC and international monetary bodies.

Lauding India's role in West Asia and as an emerging power in global affairs and promoting the culture of peace in the international arena, the Egyptian Ambassador said both countries have very old cultural ties, deep-rooted in history.

''India has a very special place and a very important role to play in the region and truly contributes to the general security environment in West Asia...Mr Mubarak and the Egyptian people have a special place for India in their hearts,'' he added.


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