“India Foundation – West Asia and North Africa (WANA)” Conference “Reconnecting Roots for Shared Prosperity” at the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs
Over two days, June 17 and 18, 2023, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs hosted the first edition of the “India Foundation – West Asia and North Africa (WANA)” conference, under the slogan “Reconnecting Roots for Shared Prosperity”, based on a proposal submitted by the India Foundation, affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in order to hold consultations with ECFA and a number of Arab researchers on regional and international issues of common interest, and to explore possible ways of cooperation regarding them. The visiting India Foundation delegation included: Dr. Ram Madhav, Chairman of the India Foundation and former Secretary General of the Bharatiya Janata Party; Mr. MJ Akbar, Member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Dr. Alok Bansal, Director of the Foundation and a former Indian Navy officer; Dr. Haseeb Drabu, former Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir; Mr. Anile Trigunayat, former Indian Ambassador to Jordan and Libya; and Ms. Soumya Chaturvedi, a Research Fellow at the India Foundation.
The first day focused on discussing bilateral relations between Egypt and India and means to enhance them, in addition to the visions of both sides regarding regional and international issues. The Egyptian side included the ambassadors: Mohamed El-Oraby, Ezzat Saad, Ali El-Hefny, Mohamed Hegazy, and Mohamed Al-Noqaly, as well as Dr. Mohamed Kamal, Dr. Sadeq Abdel-Aal, and Dr. Mohamed Ezz Al-Arab, head of the Arab and Regional Studies Unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The participants affirmed that Egypt-India relations do not only date back to the era of Nasser and Nehru, but extend deeper to Saad Zaghloul and Mahatma Gandhi, but they certainly witnessed a major development during the era of President El-Sisi and Indian Prime Minister Modi. In this regard, reference was made to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Cairo on June 24, 2023, and its importance. The two sides also agreed on the idea of the importance of international “multi-currency” in trade, and not just the U.S. dollar. The talk was also positive about Egypt’s request to join the BRICS, and the importance of India’s support for this request. The meeting also discussed ways to support the “strategic partnership” between the two countries in all fields.
On the other hand, the second day witnessed interaction between the Indian delegation and researchers from several Arab countries (Palestine – Libya – Sudan), including: Dr. Mohamed Gharib, Secretary of the Fatah Movement in Cairo; Dr. Ramzy Odeh, Secretary General of the “For Palestine” Campaign; Mr. Qasim Awad, Palestinian Campaign Coordinator; Dr. Mohamed Al-Hadi Al-Dayri, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya (by video); Dr. Mustafa Al-Zaidi, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Libyan Popular National Movement; and Ambassador Dr. Ali Youssef, Acting Chairman of the Sudanese Council for International Affairs. In this regard, the participants gave a general overview of the existing situations in Palestine, Libya and Sudan, amid interaction from the Indian side. The Arab researchers also requested India’s support for the demands of the peoples of their countries, in a manner that contributes to achieving security and stability in them and in the entire region, which was welcomed by the Indian delegation.