Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Sunday. He will arrive in New Delhi on January 24 to attend Republic Day festivities and will also hold defence and diplomacy-related dialogues to strengthen the India-Egypt relationship.
Al-Sisi hails from the city of el-Gamaliya and was raised in an alleyway that lies on the edge of the Jewish quarter of Cairo’s old city. He studied at the military academy in Egypt, and later continued his military training at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1992, also receiving a master’s degree from the US Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2006.
He gained power when the Middle East was witnessing one of its most turbulent times- the years of Arab Spring, a series of anti-government and pro-democracy protests to throw the authoritarian rulers out of power. A BBC report states the then-general came to prominence in 2011 when he was named a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took over running Egypt following the popular uprising that forced longtime President Hosni Mubarak to resign.
In 2013, he played a crucial role in bringing down the hapless administration of Mohammed Morsi and then formally took charge as President in 2014. Sisi, who is the sixth President of Egypt served as Egypt’s deputy prime minister from 2013 to 2014, as its minister of defence from 2012 to 2013, and as its director of military intelligence from 2010 to 2012.
The use of force on protestors and the stifling of opposition voices have also led to criticism from human rights organizations, while the government has claimed to have done so in order to protect the country against extremist forces. While al-Sisi was re-elected in 2018 and can run again in 2024, through recent amendments to the constitution, he may be allowed to stay on till 2030.
“The forthcoming visit of President al-Sisi is expected to further strengthen and deepen the time-tested partnership between India and Egypt,” the MEA said. “At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, will be the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2023. This is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day,” the External Affairs Ministry said in the press release.