NEW DELHI: India said it was looking forward to strengthening economic ties with Egypt as President Mohamed Morsi headed to New Delhi for talks starting on Tuesday.
The Egyptian president is due to meet India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and business groups to bolster a blossoming trade relationship after paying a one-day visit to Pakistan on Monday.
"Our trade with Egypt has increased so rapidly in the last three years that India is now Egypt's seventh-largest trading partner," India's ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri told reporters ahead of the visit.
Morsi's trip comes as Egypt is struggling to restore investor confidence after suffering a sharp economic decline since the uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
His administration has been plagued by unrest and deadly clashes between protesters and police, blocking efforts to build broad-based support for a much-needed programme of economic reform.
During Morsi's stop in Pakistan, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari urged him to help efforts to end the "bloodshed" in Syria and find a solution to the crisis.
The visit of Morsi, due to arrive in India late on Monday, is aimed at promoting trade and investment in Egypt's troubled economy, Indian officials said. The two countries have traditionally had close links.
"President Morsi is coming to India with a strong business delegation," said Chinmaya R. Gharekhan, until recently the Indian premier's special envoy for West Asia.
He is "making clear his intention to forge substantial economic links with India," Gharekhan said, writing in The Hindu newspaper.
Bilateral trade between the two countries totals $5.5 billion and "we certainly hope to carry this forward during the visit of President Morsi", foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters at a briefing.
Trade in Indian two-wheelers, petrochemicals, biotechnology, information technology, healthcare products and other goods will all be discussed, Indian officials said.
One key irritant in relations has been Egypt's refusal to support India's longstanding bid for a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council.