Turkish President Erdogan arrives in India; to discuss trade, terror with PM Modi tomorrow

Namrata Tripathi
Turkish President Erdogan arrives in India; to discuss trade, terror with PM Modi tomorrow

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in India on Sunday, days after scoring big on a historic referendum in Turkey over extensive presidential powers. Erdogan is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, where the duo is expected to discuss key issues like trade and terrorism.

Turkey held a Yes/No referendum on April 16 on whether to change the country's governance system from a parliamentary democracy to an executive structure led by the president.

Erdogan and PM Modi will discuss key bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest on May 1, with special stress on strategic issues including India's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid.

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Although Turkey is not opposed to India's NSG membership, the country has maintained that the bloc should come up with a system to appraise the entry of non-signatories of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China has been opposing India's NSG membership citing India's non-signatory status.

India and Turkey's trade transactions amount to $6.4 billon, wide off the mark from the potential, IANS quoted an official as saying. Ankara wants a Free Trade Agreement and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to close the gap with New Delhi.

Turkey is now turning to Asia to facilitate its economic development and security as the country's Europen Union entry looks like a distant dream. Ankara views India as a major partner in its developmental effort.

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Ahead of Erdogan's visit, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Ruchi Ghanashyam said the Turkish president would be accompanied by some cabinet ministers, senior officials, and a 150-member business delegation which will participate in a meeting of the India-Turkey Business Forum.

Ghanashyam said talks will dwell on cooperation between the two countries in areas like construction, infrastructure development, renewable energy, tourism and film shooting.

The official said strategies to battle terrorism will also be high on the agenda during Erdogan-Modi meeting.

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

Both leaders might also discuss energy, particularly renewable energy, in the face of rising demand.