India visit of Turkey president, Tayyip Erdogan, in the late of this month is his first tour to a foreign country after gaining the support at home on the constitutional referendum for extending the power to the president by ceasing from the prime minister. As was expected, this visit attracts the large attention among the business communities of both sides, he also presides Indo-Turkey business forum. A high-level delegation of the officials and ministers of commerce and trade were accompanied with a dominated agenda to strengthen the commercial ties. Erdogan has visited India second time, earlier was in 2008 as prime minister.
After the cold war era, political and economic transformation across the world and emergence of Turkey and India among the global major twenty economies (G 20) cause to the revival of the relationship between both the nations, which were earlier associated with two different camps. During the last ten years, many high-level visits including the president of both countries strengthen the bilateral relations.
Turkey is a natural ally of India as both countries in spite of having the large population of one faith, have adopted the secular democracy with the moderate approach of religion in state policies. However, India’s diplomatic relationship has been strained recently due to Turkey’s vocal support of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir at the international forums.
During the last visit of Pakistan, Erdogan advocates the solution of Kashmir problem and also offer his skills for mediation between all the parties for resolving the Kashmir. This viewpoint against the India’s firm stand on Kashmir as its undisputed territory without any third party intervention. Turkey suggests the multilateral talks for Kashmir, while India insists for the bilateral solution. Turkey iterated its request with India for taking the action against the institutions of Gulen movements which is mainly blamed for the attempt to topple the democratically elected Erdogan government.
In the upheaval of the Arab region, Tukey as an exemplary stable democracy, get an opportunity to lead the region through mediation in their conflicts. India is a major trade partner of the Arab region, a large share of their crude oil exploration are imported by India. Turkey would require India’s support in Syria due to its friendly relations with Iran. Further, India’s unilateral approach to Israel may anguish its Arab and other Muslim countries partner that can be balanced through the warm and friendly relationship with Turkey.
A member of NSG (Nuclear Supplier Group), Turkey, can play the key role in ensuring the entry of India in such elite group. In response to China’s plan of ‘One belt one road (OBOR)’, Turkey can also cooperate with India’s ambitious plan of the freight train by linking the rail network of six countries between Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi-Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul.
Keeping a side of political differences, Turkey president visit can cause to the expansion of commercial ties which are slightly scaled down in last three years. India’s total trade with Turkey is $4917 million during the last financial year 2015-2016, which includes the export of $4140 million and import of $777 million. The overall balance of trade with Turkey is favorable ($3363 million) due to large export to Turkey from India. Trade growth is declined -15% from the last financial year while the share of Turkey is India’s total trade is less than one percent.
India has the higher investment outflow to Turkey in compare to inflow. Total investment between both the countries during last five financial years 2011-16 is $237.88 million which include outflow of $178.82 million and inflow of $59.06 million.
Besides the commercial ties, tourism can further enhance the bilateral relationship through people interaction from both the sides. Turkey, a major global destination ranked among the top ten tourist country, has received 511051 Indian tourists while 115331 Turkish citizens have visited India during last five years 2011-2015.
Indeed, the share of bilateral commercial transactions are trivial in the overall trade and investment of both countries but changing scenario require more untapped potential sectors to boost both the economies. Hopefully, Erdogan’s visit can gear up the commercial cooperation in the mutual benefits by cornering the political differences.
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