NSG membership: India to seek Turkey’s backing

The visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to India, within weeks of him winning a crucial referendum that strengthened his position there, is expected to boost bilateral strategic and economic ties even as India is looking at him to garner support for its membership into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“India will be raising the issue of its membership bid to the NSG with the Turkish leadership. This is a crucial visit. All issues will be discussed, including India’s UNSC membership,” a top official told BusinessLine.

According to sources, India is concerned that Turkey may spoil India’s bid at the NSG due to its “closeness” with its traditional ally Pakistan. During the last plenary meeting of the NSG in June 2016, Turkey was one of the countries that wrecked India’s bid.

Turkey has maintained that a separate mechanism should be allowed wherein those countries that are not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can become NSG members. It had also made it clear then that if India is allowed entry into the NSG, then Pakistan’s proposal for a similar bid should also be approved.

“We remain engaged with Turkey on NSG,” Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, said last week.

Top on India’s agenda will also be its ambition to take the high seat at the UNSC for which Turkey’s vote is crucial.

Erdogan, who is coming to India with his key officials and a high-powered business delegation of 150 members, will be holding a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. This will be his first bilateral visit since winning the referendum.

Prior to his meeting with Modi, Erdogan will be addressing the Indian industry under the aegis of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

FTA to get a push ::

Last year in July, Erdogan faced a coup, allegedly organised by the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO).

After the failed coup, Erdogan had a telephonic conversation with Modi in which both leaders had decided to strengthen their relationship. India now sees Turkey as one of its important allies despite its geo-political leanings with Iran and Pakistan. This is all the more because of the growth of the Turkish economy that is believed to have rebounded under Erdogan’s leadership.

Both sides are also planning to expedite negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA).

During 2016-17, India-Turkey trade had shrunk nearly 28 per cent year-on-year to $4.91 billion, of which India’s exports to Turkey were $4.14 billion, down 22.7 per cent, while Turkey’s exports to India fell 47 per cent to $776 million.

“Turkey has become more important now to India than it used to be. It is closer to the European Union although it accession to the bloc will not happen,” said former Ambassador Neelam Deo, now Director of Gateway House, a Mumbai-based foreign policy think-tank.

Kashmir to figure in talks ::

Turkey is also expected to push India to revive its stalled dialogue with Pakistan and find a resolution to the Kashmir dispute.





Source:- Hindu Business Line

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