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Ramadan in EGYPT

by India Ambassador on Tuesday, July 05, 2016 12:00 AM
Ramadan in Egypt



This year, we had an amazing experience discovering the Egyptian way to celebrate Ramadan.  Fasting, prayers, charity and meeting friends over Iftaar and Sohour are serious business!



We hosted Iftaar for friends from politics, government, business, culture and media at India House.  It had a festive spirit with an Egyptian touch – coloured light streamers, lanterns, trees covered in bright fabric, cool breeze from the river wafting in and a beautiful Egyptian folklore music group from up the Nile.  Many friends had come from afar, from Alexandria and Ismailia, while others were neighbours from sprawling Cairo.  Following the evening prayer, it was a joyous mingling of chatter and laughter, good food Indian and Egyptian, music and lights, elegant outfits and many smiles.



...

India lights up a remote village in Egypt

by India Ambassador on Thursday, June 16, 2016 2:00 AM
India lights up a remote village in Egypt

 

When Bheem Singh arrived in Cairo, I knew this young man from the Thar Desert in Rajasthan would create history in Egypt before he left.  Bheem’s mission was to provide electricity using solar energy to the remote desert village Agaween in Matrouh Governorate.  The pictures of happy faces he brought back after a few weeks proved the success of the project and his popularity.

India and Egypt had agreed to strengthen collaboration in the field of renewable energy. An off-grid solar energy project was to be established, taking advantage of the high intensity of sunny days in the Western Desert.  It was envisaged that electricity would be provided to 40 households, the local school and the mosque.  Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Ltd (REIL), a market...

New skills & new jobs

by India Ambassador on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 6:21 PM
New skills & new jobs



When I visited the Vocation Training Centre (VTC) at Shoubra El Kheima, Cairo after its recent up-gradation by India, what struck me most was how new technology and skills had been incorporated into the project. I also saw how it was an answer to Egypt's priority for job creation in the SME sector. 

 



India and Egypt are ancient civilizations bound by the tradition of textiles. It was apt that our development project should feature this labour-intensive and yet technology driven field in which we both have great advantages.  





The National Small Industries Corporation of India set up state of the art machinery in spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing and testing, with an outlay of US$...

Odisha through Egyptian Eyes – A Photographic Exhibition

by India Ambassador on Thursday, March 19, 2015 6:00 PM
Odisha through Egyptian Eyes – A Photographic Exhibition







In the practice and conduct of diplomacy, the conversations between Central Governments and the capitals where they are situated often unfairly take precedence. However, the new Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought a focus on engagement with States through the notion of cooperative federalism. In this context, we were particularly delighted to get in with Dr. Hasnaa Hassan who had travelled to the eastern state of Odisha.





Following our conversations, last Thursday, I inaugurated an event at the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture titled Snapshots from Odisha, a lovely photographic exhibition by Dr. Hassan, an Assistant Professor of Photographic Art from Alexandria University. The photographs, taken in different parts of the state represented both the exquisite art from Odisha’s ancient temples,...

Outreach Diplomacy, One Governorate at a time

by India Ambassador on Sunday, March 08, 2015 4:32 PM
Outreach Diplomacy, One Governorate at a time



There is a usual assumption that diplomacy is often the exclusive preserve of officialdom – conducted between Governments behind closed doors. As the notion of public diplomacy has expanded, particularly in the last decade or so, the role of the Embassy has also transformed. For many years now, our Mission in Egypt has sought to reach out and build friendships with the local population, not just in Cairo, but in the many Governorates of the country. In the course of the last year alone, we have done more than 12 India focussed events in Cairo and across Egypt which combine a historical exhibition on Egypt-India relations, cultural performance, painting competitions as well as sustained engagement with local chambers of commerce and industry.

 



After India Days in the Governorates of Minya and Suez Governorates, we headed to Mansoura in the Governorate of Dakahliya...

A New Window on India: The Indian Cultural Centre opens in Zamalek

by India Ambassador on Saturday, February 21, 2015 5:00 PM
A New Window on India: The Indian Cultural Centre opens in Zamalek







For more than 60 years, the public face of the India Embassy lay at the heart of Cairo, close to Midan al Tahrir, on the street of Talaat Harb. From there the Embassy ran its Consular Wing and its Press offices, even while the Indian Tea establishment and the Air India premises lay further down the road. When the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) opened its doors in 1992, it chose to use the premises of the Tea Centre and built on the relationships India had with the local spaces of downtown Cairo. The Centre was named after an icon of India’s national movement - an Islamic scholar educated at Al Azhar, and India’s First Education Minister, Maulana Azad embodied the vitality of India’s pluralistic heritage.



Because of our long connection with downtown...

An Ancient Discipline in Umm Al Duniya

by India Ambassador on Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:00 PM
#yogainEgypt





An Ancient Discipline in Umm Al Duniya





Although the ancient practice of yoga may be as old as the Indus Valley civilization, it was around the 2nd century BC that its precepts were first codified by the sage Patanjali in his Yogasutras. Patanjali’s exposition of Ashtanga Yoga or the eight limbed path is a manual to align the various elements of the human body to achieve ‘union’ or yoga.  Over a period of time, a large number of schools which taught different styles of yoga emerged, particularly in the 20th century and the popularity of yoga spread on account of the tireless efforts of yoga gurus such as BKS Iyengar. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi is himself a long-time practitioner of the discipline and has shown personal interest in spreading the message about the manifold benefits of Yoga around the world. Based on his initiative, the United Nations has declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

We at the Embassy have...

An Ancient Discipline in Umm Al Duniya

by India Ambassador on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:00 AM
#yogainEgypt





An Ancient Discipline in Umm Al Duniya





Although the ancient practice of yoga may be as old as the Indus Valley civilization, it was around the 2nd century BC that its precepts were first codified by the sage Patanjali in his Yogasutras. Patanjali’s exposition of Ashtanga Yoga or the eight limbed path is a manual to align the various elements of the human body to achieve ‘union’ or yoga.  Over a period of time, a large number of schools which taught different styles of yoga emerged, particularly in the 20th century and the popularity of yoga spread on account of the tireless efforts of yoga gurus such as BKS Iyengar. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi is himself a long-time practitioner of the discipline and has shown personal interest in spreading the message about the manifold benefits of Yoga around the world. Based on his initiative, the United Nations has declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

We at the Embassy have...

Old Friends, New Partners: India- Arab Relations in an Emerging New World

by India Ambassador on Thursday, November 06, 2014 12:00 AM
Old Friends, New Partners:

India- Arab Relations in an Emerging New World

 

There is something refreshing about an old friendship that is renewed and rekindled; new vistas of opportunity open up and there is renewed warmth. Like with individuals, so with civilizations – the story of India and the Arab world is an ancient one, but that which bears value in repetition. India and the Arab world gained immeasurably from our historical interaction – thinkers, philosophers, traders traversed the seas bearing knowledge and merchandise. Emperor Ashoka is believed to have sent Buddhist scholars to Egypt and Syria, and this interaction would continue over millennia. These exchanges would result in advances in astronomy, medicine, mathematics, and agriculture, even as the mutual trade enriched both civilizations. The Sanskrit book on Astronomy ‘Surya Sidhhanta’ was translated into Arabic and spread across the Arab world, as did works by famous Indian physicians, the Charaka Samhita, and the Susrud. Conversely,...

The Evacuation Diaries: Iraq

by India Ambassador on Sunday, October 19, 2014 7:00 PM
The Evacuation Diaries: Iraq

 

Diplomatic life is full of unexpected surprises. Sometimes those surprises can be pleasant and delightful – at other times they can be challenging and difficult. The surprise lay in wait for me on a rather warm morning in late June when I reached office. “Please make the necessary arrangements” – Ambassador Suri had written above a notification from Delhi asking me to leave for Baghdad the very next day. The situation in Iraq had become a matter of grave concern for the Indian Government. Over a hundred Indian nationals had been trapped in the conflict zone and thousands more lay on the periphery. I knew little of the situation and even less of my responsibilities as I boarded the next available flight to Baghdad.

 

On arrival, I reported directly at India House to the Indian Ambassador Ajay Kumar and Senior Envoy Suresh Reddy. A control room was already operational coordinating emergency calls and advising nationals. In the next couple of days the Mission...