India, Turkey relations on good footing despite concerns
The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in India on a state visit recently and there were many take-aways from that visit, though there are niggling differences between the two ancient countries. 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 that economic-relations can help in weaning away Turkey from Pakistan. The two leaders – Erdogan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met to further seal the strong bilateral ties the countries have.
One of the biggest take-aways from the visit was that the two leaders endorsed that they would work together to deal with terrorism. Though Erdogan never mentioned Pakistan, he did state that cross-border terrorism had potential to disrupt economies. Both sides did not expect the visit to be transformational in the relationship. Writes Ranjit Kumar, the issues of Kashmir and Northern Cyprus have been the principal stumbling blocks in developing closer political and strategic relations between the two nations. And the recent turmoil in Turkey wherein Erdogan managed to come out of the crisis have all added the coldness in bilateral relations as Turkey is asking for the deportation of the Fethulla Gulen group members residing in India. But this did not stop the two leaders from extending their cooperation to check terrorism and Erdogan’s reference to crossborder terrorism, though he did not name Pakistan, is a significant take-away from the meeting.
The next connect for Prime Minister Modi will be Israel which he is visiting in July and the visit is to mark 25 years of establishment of India-Israel diplomatic relations, allowing increased economic, cultural and security cooperation. The bilateral trade between India and Israel is over $2 billion. The visit is going to be a historic one.
Talking about historic, India’s space technology, yet again showed to the world what it is capable of India launched the ‘South Asia Satellite’ that will provide a full range of applications (Very small aperture terminals; direct-to-home services; tele-medicine; tele-education; broadcast; meteorological; disaster management support, etc) and services to all of India’s neighbours. In his analysis, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) states that the impact of the South Asia communication satellite will be more geopolitical in nature and its influence on the relationship between India and other nations of SAARC will definitely be of significance.
In his fortnightly viewpoint, Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd) writes about how pricing and technology transfer are becoming hurdles in the Indo-Russian Kamov helicopter deal. The disagreement is over the joint production of Kamov 226T light utility helicopters that was announced as the first major ‘Make in India’ project.
The government on May 10 has approved the appointment of West Bengal cadre and 1982 batch officer Sanjay Mitra as the next Defence Secretary. Mitra, who was holding the charge of Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways till now, has been appointed officer-on-special-duty in the defence ministry and will assume charge on May 24 when incumbent G. Mohan Kumar retires.
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