Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been invited to be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony in New Delhi on January 26 next year. The invitation was extended to the 68-year-old military leader-turned-politician by New Delhi, which is keen to add new momentum to India-Egypt defence cooperation with joint war drills and a proposed export of 70 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), headquartered in Bengaluru, to the Arab Republic straddling north-east Africa and south-west Asia.

Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Cairo and met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. He also visited Sisi and delivered “a personal message” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

If Sisi accepts the invitation, he will be the first Egyptian leader to be hosted by New Delhi as the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony, despite the fact that the two countries’ bilateral relations have a 75-year history. The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in 1961 by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Egypt’s second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, along with Presidents Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.