In­dia-Turkey Ce­ment­ing Ties

In­dia and Turkey have dif­fer­ences over the sta­tus of Kash­mir and North­ern Cyprus, but that has not stopped the two na­tions from strength­en­ing re­la­tions. Both na­tions be­lieve that eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions can be more com­pre­hen­sive and In­dia be­lieves th

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By Ran­jit Ku­mar ]

Know­ing fully well that Turkey is a staunch ally of Pak­istan and sup­ports the coun­try on the is­sue of Jammu and Kash­mir, why did In­dia in­vite the Pres­i­dent of Turkey Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on a state visit? Cer­tainly, both the sides did not ex­pect the visit to be trans­for­ma­tional in Indo-Turk­ish re­la­tions. In­dia’s stand on North­ern Cyprus and Turk­ish stand on Jammu and Kash­mir have been the prin­ci­pal stum­bling blocks in de­vel­op­ing closer po­lit­i­cal and strate­gic re­la­tions be­tween the two na­tions.

Also the re­cent do­mes­tic events in Turkey has also added to the cold­ness in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions as Turkey wants de­por­ta­tion of the Fethulla Gulen Group mem­bers re­sid­ing in In­dia as Turkey de­scribes them as ter­ror­ists. How­ever, in spite of these con­straints, both sides dis­played enough warmth so as to move the re­la­tions in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion. Both In­dia and Turkey want nor­mal re­la­tions as they en­joy close, friendly and deep rooted ties dat­ing back to sev-

eral cen­turies. There are rich his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural con­nec­tions be­tween the two coun­tries in the field of art and ar­chi­tec­ture. Diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Turkey go back to over 70 years. A se­nior of­fi­cial said that reg­u­lar high level ex­changes have strength­ened the bi­lat­eral ties.

Both feel that the within the realm of dif­fer­ences over Kash­mir and North­ern Cyprus, both the na­tions can deepen the eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions more com­pre­hen­sively. In spite of dif­fer­ences Turkey and In­dia en­joy close eco­nomic re­la­tions. Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries stood at $6.4 bil­lion. In­dia’s main ex­ports to Turkey are tex­tiles and fab­rics, chem­i­cal, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, plas­tic prod­ucts, ma­chin­ery and au­to­mo­tive. There is scope for co­op­er­a­tion in other ar­eas such as con­struc­tion, in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment, re­new­able en­ergy, tourism and film shoot­ing.

The fact that Er­do­gan made a sec­ond visit to In­dia from April 30 to May 1, 2017, af­ter 2008 speaks of the im­por­tance Turkey at­taches to its re­la­tions with In­dia. Both are mem­bers of G-20 group of de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing economies.

This is why the In­dian Prime min­is­ter ex­hib­ited ex­tra cour­tesy by ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent to the joint in­dus­try cham­bers meet­ing and em­pha­sized on the im­por­tance of strength­en­ing the eco­nomic re­la­tions. Nat­u­rally the fo­cus of the talks was on en­hanc­ing the bi­lat­eral trade and eco­nomic re­la­tions to the level of $10 bil­lion by 2020 from the present level of $6.4 bil­lion. In­dia be­lieves that the best way to wean Turkey away from the clutches of Pak­istan is to eco­nom­i­cally bind the two na­tions, and drive a wedge be­tween the two Is­lamic na­tions.

Turk­ish anger over In­dia’s pol­icy on Ar­me­nia and Cyprus is well known. Was it a mere co­in­ci­dence that just be­fore Er­do­gan’s visit to

In­dia, Vice Pres­i­dent Hamid An­sari was sent on a State visit to Ar­me­nia and the Pres­i­dent of

Cyprus en­joyed State hos­pi­tal­ity in In­dia? Tur- key has sim­i­larly re­tal­i­ated by sid­ing with Pak­istan since long. Turkey was also not sat­is­fied with In­dia’s re­sponse on Turk­ish de­mand to take ac­tion against the Fethul­lah group mem­bers liv­ing in In­dia. But Turkey now re­al­izes that it will not be in its long term in­ter­est to keep aloof from In­dia in the eco­nomic sphere.

Though Turkey stuck to its pro-Pak­istan stance on Kash­mir by ad­vo­cat­ing mul­ti­lat­eral talks for re­solv­ing the Kash­mir is­sue, In­dia did suc­ceed in ca­jol­ing Turk­ish Pres­i­dent to speak the same lan­guage on ter­ror­ism. Prob­a­bly, this will irk Pak­istan as the Turk­ish leader talked tough on ter­ror­ism by agree­ing with In­dia on the need to dis­man­tle the in­fra­struc­ture of ter­ror­ism and ask­ing Pak­istan, with­out nam­ing, to stop be­ing a state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism. Sig­nif­i­cantly, Turkey agreed for the early con­clu­sion of the ne­go­ti­a­tions on the com­pre­hen­sive con­ven­tion on in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism, pro­posed by In­dia al­most two decades ago.

The joint state­ment is­sued af­ter the talks ex­plic­itly con­demned the dou­ble stan­dards on ter­ror­ism and re­it­er­ated their “strong con­dem­na­tion of and res­o­lute op­po­si­tion to ter­ror­ism in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, wher­ever com­mit­ted and by whomever, and de­clared that there could be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ter­ror­ism any­where. Both sides urged all coun­tries and en­ti­ties to work sin­cerely to dis­rupt ter­ror­ist net­works and their fi­nanc­ing, and stop cross-bor­der move­ment of ter­ror­ists.” Ref­er­ence to cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism was a sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from Turkey to In­dia. Prob­a­bly this was the big­gest take­away for In­dia from the visit of the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent.

Another big take­away was ob­tain­ing Turk­ish sup­port on In­dia’s mem­ber­ship of the 48 na­tion Nu­clear Sup­plier Group, though Turkey also wants sim­i­lar priv­i­lege to Pak­istan. Turkey also wel­comed In­dia’s ac­ces­sion to the Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Regime. Turkey also ex­tended sig­nif­i­cant sup­port on In­dia’s ap­pli­ca­tion for Wasse­nar ar­range­ment.

As far as the is­sue of per­ma­nent mem­ber­ship of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is con­cerned, Er­do­gan ex­pressed the need for ur­gent re­forms to re­flect the re­al­i­ties of the 21st cen­tury. Though the joint state­ment does not men­tion ex­plicit Turk­ish sup­port for In­dia’s mem­ber­ship, Er­do­gan while ad­dress­ing the Jamia Mil­lia univer­sity which con­ferred a doc­tor­ate de­gree, strongly sup­ported In­dia’s per­ma­nent mem­ber­ship. “The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil should be re­formed. In­dia has a pop­u­la­tion of 1.3 bil­lion and yet it is not a part of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. Do you think this is a healthy sys­tem? A to­tal of 1.7 bil­lion peo­ple live in the Is­lamic world but they are not be­ing rep­re­sented in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. Only five mem­bers of the Coun­cil are de­cid­ing the fate of the en­tire world which is not fair.”

Per­haps In­dian in­ter­locu­tors have been able to add new glues to In­dia-Turk­ish re­la­tions, which will cause con­ster­na­tion in the Pak­istani diplo­matic cir­cles. Prob­a­bly, In­dia’s prin­ci­pal strate­gic aim seems to have been achieved by putting em­pha­sis on bring­ing In­dia and Turkey closer in eco­nomic arena , which will help ce­ment the re­la­tions in strate­gic sec­tors in the com­ing years.

Ref­er­ence to cross­bor­der ter­ror­ism was a sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from Turkey to In­dia. Prob­a­bly this was the big­gest take­away for In­dia from the visit of the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Turkey Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan at Hy­der­abad House in New Delhi on May 1, 2017

Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Turkey Er­do­gan be­ing re­ceived by the Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee and Prime Min­is­ter Modi at the Cer­e­mo­nial Re­cep­tion at Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van in New Delhi

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