India's IT set to reach Egypt's 10th century Sunni Islam varsity

New Delhi to set up IT centre at Al Azhar University

India's IT set to reach Egypt's 10th century Sunni Islam varsity

One of the world’s oldest and most prominent universities for study of Sunni Islam wants India to set up Information Technology (IT) centres in all its institutions across Egypt.

New Delhi is already setting up an Information Technology centre at Al Azhar University in Cairo and is keen to offer its support for setting up such facilities in all the other institutions of Al Azhar Mosque across Egypt.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to make the offer when he will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi  in New Delhi next Friday.

Sisi will arrive in New Delhi on Thursday on a three-day visit.

This will be his second visit to India. He had earlier visited New Delhi to take part in India Africa Forum Summit in October 2015.

Sources told DH that Cairo was keen to draw on India’s prowess in IT and the meeting between the prime minister and Egyptian president next week could give a fillip to bilateral cooperation in the field.

New Delhi is setting up the IT centre on the main campus of the Al Azhar University in Cairo, which is likely to be fully operational within the next few months.

The centre is being set up in accordance with a pact India and Egypt signed during Sisi’s predecessor Mohamed Morsy’s visit to New Delhi in March 2013.

The Government of India committed to provide human resources as well as hardware and software for the centre, which will provide training to 500 students of the 10th-century varsity every year.

The Al-Azhar University was initially established in AD 970 as a school attached to the Al Azhar Mosque and has emerged over the centuries as one of the most important centres for study of Islam and Arabic literature.

The university continues to be the world’s most prominent academic and religious institution for study of Sunni Islamic theology and Sharia.

Sources said that the Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar Mosque, Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb, was so impressed with the proposal for setting up the IT centre at the varsity that he enquired if the government of India could do the same in other institutions affiliated to the historic institution across Egypt.

“That (the IT centre at Al-Azhar University) is a model which we feel that Egyptian government would like to execute in some other institutes under the Al-Azhar (mosque),” Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

Keen to reach out to the youths in Egypt and other Islamic nations in West Asia, New Delhi is likely to respond positively to the request from Cairo, added sources.

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