Turkey is willing to cooperate with India in various fields, including the government&’s flagship Make in India, Skill India, Smart Cities and infrastructure projects, the country&’s ambassador said on Monday ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi&’s visit to Antalya on November 15 for the G20 summit.
Ambassador Burak Akcapar said “there is tremendous vitality in bilateral ties” and “there is much to be talked about between the two sides”.
The friendship between India and Turkey is “traditional and permanent”, Akcapar said, adding that “a certain momentum is building in the ties, which needs to be owned and led at the senior leaders level”.
Speaking at an interaction with the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents (IAFAC) , the envoy said that both sides need to renew the legal infrastructure of bilateral ties, especially economic ties. “This is more important since India launched the Make in India, the Skill India campaign, and is actively pursuing Smart Cities. Turkey can be a good partner in building up infrastructure.”
The envoy said many of the products that India hasn’t been able to produce as part of Make in India are already in the Turkish manufacturing sector.
“We would add colour and value to India&’s current policies, but we need a renewed trade agreement and renewed civil aviation agreement,” the envoy said.
Akcapar said that both countries have been “reaching out to each other” with more visits during the last four-five years, including that of the Indian president and vice president. “We are expecting the prime minister to attend the G20 at Anatalya on November 15. And as we say in Turkey, ‘his feet will be warmed’, and we will expect him,” he added.
Akcapar said both sides see eye to eye in many areas, including Afghanistan.
He also said that Turkish Airlines, which flies to 63 cities in Europe and many cities in Africa, can be a conduit for Indian foreign policy with regard to Europe and Africa. But he added that Turkey is “constrained” by a civil aviation agreement with India, that allows only one flight a day from New Delhi and one from Mumbai.
He said though Turkey has offered to fly to six Indian cities and double the current flights from Delhi and Mumbai, it has been held back by the agreement.
The cities include Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Bangalore.
He said that if Turkish Airlines connects to these cities it would give a fillip to connectivity and also to the Indian government&’s programmes.
While civil aviation and economic cooperation are expected to be high on the talks table with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “no documents would be signed”, he said, adding that Turkey is expecting Modi on a bilateral visit next year.
Both sides are also cooperating on counter terrorism, he added.
Modi is leaving for the UK and Turkey, from November 12.