Turkey President Erdogan in India: What’s on agenda?

Buoyed by a national referendum that has made him the most powerful leader of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has touched down in India on an important visit that seeks to reset Ankara’s relations with the world’s most populous democracy. This is Mr Erdogan’s first foreign visit after winning the national referendum by a thin margin, and indicates the importance Turkey is placing on scaling up relations with India, which have been shadowed by Ankara’s unhelpful positions on Kashmir and its close ties with Islamabad.
Turkey’s all-powerful leader will be in India for a little over twenty-four hours, but this brief visit is expected to have a transformative impact on New Delhi-Ankara relations. The agenda for talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Turkish leader is multi-layered and diverse, including elevating economic and strategic relations.
For New Delhi, getting Ankara’s support for its drive to secure membership of the elite 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group will top the agenda. Turkey, which has not given unqualified support to India, has insisted on “criteria-based approach”, echoing Beijing’s stance on common criteria for all the non-NPT signatories who aspire to join the elite nuclear club.
Turkey’s stand on India’s membership of the NSG is not the only issue that has riled India. It extends to Turkey’s hostile stand on the Kashmir issue.
Moving beyond problematical issues, India and Turkey are expected to focus on scaling up their economic partnership. Given the prowess of Turkish companies in sectors like infrastructure and construction, India will be expecting Turkey’s support for the Make in India project.

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