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Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi : 02.09.2016

1. It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you and your distinguished delegation. I had the privilege of receiving you at the Rashtrapati Bhavan not so long ago, last October, when India hosted the Third India-Africa Forum Summit.

2. Your first State Visit to India is indeed a landmark occasion for many reasons: firstly, as close friends, it is but normal for Egypt and India to regularly exchange high level visits. Our peoples represent two of the most ancient civilisations of the human race; since our early contacts centuries ago, our trade as well as cultural and scholarly interactions have flourished. The migration of knowledge and scientific thought between our peoples has, over this long period, shaped our mutual understanding.

3. In the modern era, too, our shared experiences and aspirations bind us. Both our nations have had to struggle to win our freedom from colonial masters. Even as we were engaged in our own political, social and economic development, we gave strength and encouragement to other newly emerging independent states in our regions, we forged solidarity among developing countries, we nourished South-South Cooperation, and we led the Non-Aligned Movement.

4. The high esteem in which our Founding Fathers held each other- Tagore and Shawky, Gandhi and Zaghloul, Nehru and Nasser has inspired our partnership and shaped the way we have collaborated bilaterally and in multilateral fora as two independent nations.


5. The Friendship Treaty that was signed between India and Egypt in 1955 laid the foundation of our partnership. Article 1 of the Treaty provides that"there shall be perpetual peace, friendship and brotherly relations between India and Egypt and between their respective peoples". No wonder it was possible for us to forge fruitful partnerships in areas as varied as defence and culture, agree on preferential arrangements in trade and work together, to our mutual benefit in the field of agriculture and science.

6. Since those early days, the world has changed and our nations have evolved. Today’s Egypt is developing fast and India is also on a very positive trajectory of progress and growth. There is a definite confidence in our youth, who are now, more than ever before, flag-bearers of our national spirit and our collective goals. At the same time, as we are only too aware, the challenges that we face have also become more complex. Our respective regions are plagued by the shadowy spectre of radicalism that must be dealt with strongly and unitedly.


7. Your visit is taking place at a time when we both desire to infuse a new momentum into our relations and intensify our co-operation. Our economic engagement has been growing stronger through investments and enhanced trade flows as well as our partnership in a wide range of areas of our common interest. India and Egypt share a convergence on regional and global issues. I am told more and more Egyptians enjoy Bollywood cinema, playing Holi, and practicing Yoga. The 'India by the Nile' annual cultural event has emerged as the largest foreign festival in Egypt and a week-long celebration of the life and work of Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore has been popular with Egyptian scholars and artists alike. India is glad to see the establishment of the Indian Chair at Ain-Shams University in Cairo - the first in the Arab world. We are looking forward to the first ever "Egypt on Ganga” festival to be held in India next year.

8. New modes of co-operation and collaboration are emerging and new actors are rapidly entering the stage. While we take satisfaction in the state of our relations, we continue to strive to achieve higher milestones. I therefore look forward, Excellency, to our work together to further strengthen our excellent bilateral cooperation.

To emphasise mutuality of our co-operation, I would like to recall the well known Egyptian proverb –

لا يوجد شيء على هذه الأرض أفضل من الصداقة الحقيقية.

- which I will quote in English "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship”.

9.With these words, I once again welcome you, Mr President, and wish you a very comfortable and fruitful visit to India.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I request you to join me in raising a toast to:-

·the health and personal well-being of His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi;

·the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Egypt; and

·the ever closer friendship and cooperation between India and Egypt.