Friday, 25 May, 2018

India's Modi discusses trade, ties with Turkey's Erdogan

Ellis Copeland | 03 May, 2017, 22:35

The Turkish president will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1 on key bilateral, regional and worldwide issues of mutual interest.

Apart from his wife Emine Erdogan, the Turkish President is accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation that will take part in a meeting of the India-Turkey Business Forum.

Discussions on India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and counter-terrorism are also high on the agenda in his talks with PM Narendra Modi.

"Both India and Turkey have been battling terrorism for long and understand the need for acting against this global menace", Ghanashyam said.

India-Turkey trade stands at $6.4 billion, which is much below potential, officials say.

This is his first visit to India as the President. The remarks are contrary to the position of India, which maintains that the Jammu and Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter between it and Pakistan, and that there is no scope for a third party mediation.

"We remain engaged with Turkey", Ruchi Ghanashyam, secretary, external affairs ministry, told PTI when asked if the Indian side will raise the country's NSG bid during talks.

With Turkey being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the issue of India's membership bid of the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders.

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President Erdogan earlier told WION that he hoped the Kashmir dispute could be settled "once and for all" through a multi-lateral dialogue and by keeping diplomatic channels open.

Trade between the two countries now stands at $6.4 billion.

Ilnur Cevik, Senior Advisor to President Erdogan, said Turkey would be interested in nuclear cooperation with India "and all other peaceful countries that seek peaceful use of nuclear technology".

Ties with European Union nations soured before a divisive Turkish referendum in April on expanding presidential powers, with Erdogan voicing harsh criticism of several European Union nations.

He added that both the nations (India and Turkey) would work together to strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally to counter terrorism.

After a failed coup in July a year ago to topple Erdogan, Turkey had blamed Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) for it and said the outfit has "infiltrated" India.

Turkey had also asked India to take action against the organisation.

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