India, Turkey discuss bilateral, regional and global issues

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New Delhi, Feb.9 (ANI): India and Turkey on Tuesday held delegation level talks in the capital in which the two sides discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Prime Minister Dr. Singh on this occasion told visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul that his visit to India, so soon after the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan in November 2008, was an important milestone "to review the state of our bilateral relations and to chart a forward-looking agenda for advancing our multi-faceted cooperation."

"We believe that our relations stand on their own footing, and should be progressed in that spirit," the PM said and pointed out that despite having several frameworks and mechanisms for bilateral cooperation and two-way trade crossing US $3 billion in 2008, the relations are far below their true potential and that we are ready for a much deeper and robust partnership with Turkey.

Dr. Singh in this context referred to the Joint Study Group for a Compressive Free Trade Agreement that held its first meeting in New Delhi in January 2010.

Hailing the increased participation of Turkish companies in infrastructural projects in India, Dr. Singh called for expanding cooperation in areas such as science and technology, culture, education and tourism.

While President Abdullah Gul on this occasion said that the two countries were rediscovering each other and that the frequent high-level exchanges, including his own visit, was a reflection of the political will to work closely with India on political, economic, science and technology and cultural fronts.

President Gul underlined that the special relationship between Turkey and Pakistan did not, in any way, create obstructions for Turkey-India relations, which Turkey intends to carry forward.

The two sides discussed recent developments relating to Afghanistan.

President Gul recognized that India's contribution to Afghanistan is very important and expressed the desire to work together with India in bringing stability to that country.

Gul wished to avoid any misunderstanding relating to a recent meeting in Istanbul on Afghanistan, which emerged from a trilateral format involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

He said that Turkey would have liked India to be there and hoped that India would be able to participate in yet another meeting relating to developments in Afghanistan that would be hosted in Turkey later this year.

During detailed discussions on enhancing cooperation in different areas, the two sides agreed on a Joint Declaration on Terrorism and a Joint Declaration on Science and Technology Cooperation.

Both sides also agreed to continue to work together in G-20 and other international fora including the United Nations.

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was assisted by Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna, Minister of Road, Surface Transport and Highways Kamal Nath, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora, Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju and the Principal Secretary to PM, T.K.A. Nair, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, and other senior officials.

Turkish President Abullah Gul, accompanied by wife Hayrunnisa Gul, is on a State visit to India from 7th to 11th February, 2010.

Members of his delegation include Mehmet Aydin, State Minister and co-Chairman of the Joint Economic Commission, Prof. Dr. Recep Akdag, Minister of Health and Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transportation, Members of Parliament, senior Government officials and over a hundred business persons. (ANI)

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