Breaking the silence on the nationwide bloodshed in Egypt that has left at least 525 dead and thousands injured, India has asked all sides to stop violence and engage in dialogue.
"We have been following the recent developments in Egypt with concern, particularly the tragic loss of large number of lives in Cairo and other cities. We urge all sides to abjure violence, exercise maximum restraint and engage in an earnest dialogue that will promote national reconciliation and permit an early transition towards a stable and peaceful democratic set-up," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
Violence ensued across the country of Egypt on Wednesday after the security forces raided and broke two protest camps in Cairo set up by supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Protesters clashed with the military that spread in several other cities, including Alexandria of Egypt.
United States of America, France, Britain as well as the United Nations had condemned the assault by the security forces, and now India has joined the club.
According to Reuters, at least 228 people died on Wednesday in one of the worst violent clashes. Their bodies were wrapped in white satin and arranged in rows in Al-Imam mosque in northeast Cairo.
No casualty to Indian nationals has been reported.
The MEA further said, "Our Mission in Cairo is in close contact with all sections of the Indian community and with the Indian companies that have a presence in Egypt. We are maintaining active liaison with the concerned authorities to ensure their continued safety."
Most of those belonging to the Indian community in Cairo are either businessmen in the 50 Indian companies or working for various Egyptian firms.
Out of the 50 Indian companies operating in Egypt with a combined investment of roughly US $ 2.5 billion, approximately 25 companies are joint ventures and wholly owned Indian subsidiaries.
Egypt has been one of India's most important trading partners in the African continent. The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause.
Trade between the two countries during the financial year (July 2011-June 2012) grew significantly by 33 percent from US$ 3.2 billion to US$ 4.2 billion, leaving India with trade deficit of about US$ 350 million.
India is Egypt's seventh largest trading partner.