NEW DELHI: Turkey aiming to de-hyphenate its ties between emerging ally India and traditional ally Pakistan sent its Presidential Adviser Ibrahim Kalin to Delhi this week who sought wide-ranging counter-terror-de-radicalisation cooperation besides steps to add meat to the economic quotient of the partnership.
India utilised the visit to seek partnership to address menace of cross-border terror being its long-standing victim. The issue of recent terror attacks in neighbouring Sri Lanka was also part of discourse when Ibrahim Kalin, Senior Advisor and Spokesperson of the President of Turkey and Deputy Chairman of the Foreign and Security Council of Turkey visited India at NSA Ajit Doval’s invite.
The two sides held a detailed exchange of views on global and regional issues, including those relating to South Asia and West Asia. In the light of the recent terrorist incidents in the region, the two sides underlined the importance for all States to cooperate with each other to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to bring the perpetrators and sponsors of terrorist attacks to justice, according to a person familiar with the visit.The officials from two sides further emphasised on civilizational and cultural links.
A key element of Dr Kalin’s visit was his meeting with senior Islamic scholars and intellectuals as two sides seek to cooperate in the field of de-radicalisation. This meeting was aimed at better understanding of Indian cultural and pluralistic mosaic and Islamic tradition.
Turkey’s support is critical to counter challenge from Pakistan as Ankara has been traditional ally of Islamabad. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to steadily broad-base Turkish outreach to South Asia. Erdogan’s stand-alone visit to India in 2017 signalled de-hyphenation as he sought to develop personal chemistry with PM Narendra Modi. He hopes to host the Indian PM later this year. Erdogan was particularly impressed with the fact that as the leader of world’s biggest democracy Modi reached out to him hours after a coup was launched to oust him few years back.
India is actively engaging three poles of West Asia – Saudi; Iran; and Turkey – in dealing with Pakistan’s use of cross-border terror as an instrument of state policy.
Investment opportunities in specific sectors such as tourism, smart cities, construction, infrastructure and IT were also explored by Delhi and Ankara during the visit. Ever since Turkish President made a stand-alone visit to India in April-May 2017, bilateral trade has grown and currently stands at $ 8.6 billion. The target is to touch $ 10 bn by 2020. Turkish FMCG products are seeking entry into the Indian market.