President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcome Turkish President Erdogan during a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. President Erdogan is on a two-day state visit to India. Photograph: (AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who arrived in India on Sunday, will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today on key bilateral and regional issues, including India's membership bid for the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and strengthening trade and counter-terrorism.
Delhi: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan pic.twitter.com/uyDVgu8hgB— ANI (@ANI_news) May 1, 2017
Delhi: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat pic.twitter.com/awmVBbGioL— ANI (@ANI_news) May 1, 2017
Turkey is not directly opposed to India's NSG membership but has been maintaining that the powerful nuclear bloc should come out with a system to consider the entry of the countries which are not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), while also supporting Pakistan's case, diplomatic sources said.
Addressing an India-Turkey business summit on Monday, PM Modi said India and Turkey enjoy good economic ties, but noted that there was potential for more.
"India and Turkey enjoy good economic ties. The growth of bilateral trade over the years have been impressive. I understand that bilateral trade has increased remarkably since President Erdogan last visited India," Modi said.
"It was gone up from USD 2.8 billion in 2008 to 6.4 billion in 2016. While this is encouraging, the level of present economic and commercial relations is not enough against the real potential," he added.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in India to hold delegation level talks with PM Narendra Modi. During this visit, key agreements are expected on trade, terrorism and India's bid for NSG (WION)
In an exclusive interview with WION ahead of his visit, President Erdogan refuted that Turkey was reluctant to support India as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He said both India and Pakistan had the right to aspire for NSG membership and that if "Turkey was fair enough to support Pakistan, it was fair enough to support India."
"We are very objective and positive to the NSG process," Erdogan told WION.
"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.
Ahead of President Erdogan's visit, India played down the proximity between Turkey and Pakistan as well as Ankara's statements on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government is aware that Turkey has a very close relationship with Pakistan and it is their bilateral matter.
"We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe, the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment," Ruchi Ghanashyam said, adding that India's position on the state of Jammu and Kashmir is very well known that it is an integral part of the country.
However, she did not respond when asked if India will raise the issue.
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.
"We should not allow more casualties to occur and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved, and through multilateral dialogue I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all, which will benefit both countries. I have been discussing these issues at length with my dear friend, the Prime Minister of Pakistan,
Nawaz Sharif. I know he is a good-intentioned man. I personally heard him speak about settling this issue once and for all. So if we keep dialogue channels open, we can settle it once and for all," the Turkish president told WION.
President Erdogan, who apart from his wife Ermine, will be accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation hopes that his visit will improve India-Turkey relations.
In his interview to WION, President Erdogan said he wanted a "win-win situation" and a favourable trade balance between the two countries. He said that though the trade volume between the two countries was about US$ 6.5 billion, it was not in favour of Turkey. He also hoped that Turkish and Indian companies would invest in third countries.
This is President Erdogan's first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 that further consolidated his executive powers.
The two sides were also expected to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism during the presidential visit here.
After a failed coup in July last year to topple the president, 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.
(WION with inputs from PTI)
If Turkey was fair enough to support Pakistan, it should be fair enough to support India says, President Erdogan (WION)