Turkish President Erdogan, PM Modi to discuss NSG-membership, counter-terrorism, trade
Turkish President Erdogan, who is on a two-day India visit, and PM Narendra Modi are expected to hold wide-ranging talks on issues like India's NSG membership, cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade. Following PM Modi's successful visits to Saudi Arabia, Iran and UAE, Erdogan's visit could enhance India's ties with the Islamic world, whose fulcrum is moving towards Turkey and Iran.
India and Turkey have usually shared cordial political, bilateral, and trade relations; diplomatic relations were established in 1948. To further bolster ties, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived on 30 April on a two-day India visit. He was received by President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi. He would hold bilateral talks and also be conferred an honorary doctorate by Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia.
Erdogan on his second visit to India (first as Turkey's PM in 2008) will hold talks in India with regional security, terrorism, India's NSG membership on the top of agenda. India-Turkey trade volume stands at $5.6bn; Turkey seeks a Free Trade Agreement and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to bridge the deficit with India. India and Turkey are expected to sign a series of agreements.
Inviting Turkey with open hands, PM Modi said: "India and Turkey are both energy deficient, and our energy needs are ever increasing. This sector is an important pillar of bilateral relations. India was never a more promising destination than it is today."
Turkish President's Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Ilnur Cevik said PM Modi and Erdogan's relationship would strengthen the ties between India and Turkey. With Turkey being an NSG member, the issue of India's membership bid is likely to figure during the talks. He also added Turkey is interested in nuclear and defense cooperation with India and doesn't have any objection to its NSG membership.
Praising PM Modi, Ilnur Cevik stated, "Unlike the West, which was watching and even waiting for the coup to succeed, it was Modi who rang up Erdogan and expressed relief at the failure of the coup (on 15 July 2016)."
Turkey admitted it has close relations with India and its arch-rival Pakistan but the ties are independent of each other. President Erdogan suggested a multilateral dialogue on Kashmir issue to resolve and not allow more casualties in the region. On the Kurdish issue in Turkey, he stated: "We have no problem with the Kurdish people. We have a problem with a terrorist organization."
President Erdogan controversially stated: "All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. It (the Kurdish problem) is a territorial dispute. In Jammu and Kashmir, the situation is different. Let's not make the mistake of comparing them."