Vice President leaves for Turkey to reinforce bilateral friendship

Visit to boost business and efforts for setting up a free trade agreement between India and Turkey.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:October 10, 2011 11:43 am

Vice President Hamid Ansari today left for Ankara as part of a six-day visit to Turkey that is aimed at giving a fillip to trade and commerce with India and further bolster bilateral ties.

During the visit,India would look at cooperation in sectors like infrastructure,IT,automobiles and engineering. officials said.

A joint study group is currently examining the feasibility of this measure. Bolstering of bilateral and trade relations will top the agenda of Ansari’s visit.

The delegation accompanying the Vice President includes Minister for Social Welfare and Justice Mukul Wasnik,senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and MPs Ranjitsingh Vijaysinh Patil,Vijay Pal Singh and Imgrid McLeod,along with a group of Indian businessman.

The Vice President is also accompanied by his wife Salma Ansari.

Ansari will also be participating in a business forum at the Turkish Chamber of Businessmen and Industrialists at Istanbul where he will talk about Indo-Turkish economic and commercial cooperation and the opportunities available in India,to an audience which will include both Turkish and Indian business captains.

Briefing reporters about the visit,Secretary (West),Ministry of External Affairs Madhusudan Ganpathi said the whole gamut of international and regional issues of mutual interest will come up during the visit.

This is the first high-level Indian delegation to visit Turkey after then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003. Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had also visited the country in 1988.

Ansari’s visit will commence from Ankara where he will be received by Turkish President Abdullah Gul. He will hold discussions on a range of issues with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Vice President will hold delegation level talks with members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly led by its Speaker Camil Cicek.

Ansari will pay homage to the founder of the Republic of Turkey,Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at his Mausoleum in Ankara. He will also visit the historical provinces of Konya and Nevsesir (Cappadocia) and will be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate for International Relations by Mevlana University in Konya. The tour concludes on October 15.

Ganpathi said the visit will provide additional impetus and momentum towards further consolidation and strengthening of the broad-based,multifaceted and comprehensive partnership between India and Turkey in areas of mutual interest and

benefit.

Both India and Turkey are members of the G-20. Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world and the only Eurasian country in NATO. Its association with Europe through the Customs Union with the EU could offer opportunities for Indian business.

The Indo-Turkish Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation is co-chaired by the commerce ministers of the two countries to give direction towards further consolidation and development of economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.

Both India and Turkey have signed an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and an Agreement for Reciprocal Protection and Mutual Promotion of Investments. Agreements for development of science and technology and for cooperation in the IT sector also exist between the two countries.

There will be a personal touch for Ansari also as his great granduncle M A Ansari had led a medical mission to Turkey in 1911-1912 to provide aid to the Turkish army in the Balkan Wars.

The visit comes at a time when economic cooperation between India and Turkey have grown manifolds and both countries are looking forward to enhanced cooperation in sectors like IT,infrastructure,automobiles and engineering.

Bilateral trade between the two countries touched USD 4 billion in 2010 of which India’s exports were over USD 3.4 billion.

Recent years have seen a number of high-profile visits to India from the Turkish side. In November 2008,Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited India,which was followed by President Abdullah Gul’s visit in February last year. Ansari’s visit is in continuation of these high-level exchanges between the two nations.

More than 112 Indian companies have registered their businesses in Turkey with investments in areas ranging from infrastructure and automobiles to IT and consultancy services.

Notable among them are GMR Infrastructure Limited,Tata Motors,Mahindra & Mahindra,Reliance,Aditya Birla Group,Ispat,Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited,WIPRO and Dabur India Limited.

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