Cross-border terrorism and frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan-dominated discussions between India and Turkey on Monday,even as the two sides covered significant ground in bilateral engagement as they agreed to prepare a fresh draft of the Defence Cooperation Agreement,which has been on the table since 1994,and launch a wider dialogue mechanism to explore cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
President Pranab Mukherjee conveyed Indias strong sentiments on cross-border terrorism to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey,a close ally of Pakistan. Mukherjee emphasised the need for Pakistan to dismantle the infrastructure of terror to remove obstacles in bilateral relations.
Although Erdogan,who called on Mukherjee after the latter met his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul,did not respond to the references to cross-border terrorism,he acknowledged Indias concerns. Sometimes,it is difficult for some governments to root out terrorism within their country,but I hope Pakistan can minimise its impact in their territory, he said.
While there is reason for New Delhi to feel satisfied with Turkeys condemnation of terrorism,Ankaras recent tough talk against terrorism could also be seen in the context of persistent pressure from the US to act against terrorism. Indian interlocutors were satisfied that Turkey made no attempt to try to push the case of Pakistan. Both Erdogan and Gul confirmed that Turkey will remain in Afghanistan post-2014,to ensure peace and stability in the region.
New Delhi sought Turkeys support for Indias bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and for membership of the NSG and other export control regimes like MTCR,the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Group.
While Turkey,like many other NPT members,has strong reservations about non-NPT signatories joining the export control regimes,the two sides agreed to discuss the issue. The fact that they have offered to have further dialogue on this is a constructive,positive sign, said P S Raghavan,Special Secretary,MEA.
The two countries Monday signed a number of agreements,including six MoUs between Indian and Turkish universities,and five other agreements,related to science & technology and small and medium enterprises,among others.
Asked how New Delhi views the fact that the Turkish PM is emerging as a dictator who has put a host of journalists behind bars,Raghavan said,We have been constantly saying that we will not sit in judgment in the internal affairs of other countries. He has been elected three times and an elected leader is an elected leader.
IN PICTURES: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a never-seen-before avatar in Vogue photoshoot