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India rejects Turkey offer to host multilateral talks on Kashmir

India says terrorism is the key issue

Aditi Phadnis  |  New Delhi 

Erdogan, Modi
President Pranab Mukherjee (L) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (middle) during the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion that be resolved through multilateral negotiations, was met with a polite rebuff from New Delhi which said the issue facing both Turkey and India was one of and that it was ready to talk to on all bilateral issues, including Kashmir, thus, turning down Turkey’s offer of hosting mulatilateral negotiations. Ways to strengthen bilateral counter-cooperation, India’s claim to becoming a member of the (NSG) and a similar bid by were among key issues that were understood to have been discussed  but India got few reassurances beyond continued cordiality in relations.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Gopal Baglay, would not be drawn into a discussion on past stances on taken by Turkey (like raising the issue of on behalf of in the Organisation of Islamic Countries) or even statements by President Erdogan who, during a visit to in September last year, said that Turkey was fully with in “support of the struggle of our brothers and sisters in Kashmir”.

India’s stated position is that a common position on by the two countries and the economic partnerships forged by businessmen on the two sides should be considered the high points of the visit.

Erdogan has just won by a thin margin, a vote legalising his de facto executive presidency along with a vast number of additional powers that currently belong to other state institutions, without introducing the checks and balances required to safeguard Turkey against a further authoritarian turn.  Internationally, Turkey is isolated and at odds with its western allies on a variety of fronts. The prospects for an improvement in Turkey’s relationship with the European Union and the US are assessed as being dim. The general opinion is that domestic politics will continue to shape Ankara’s foreign policy, making Turkey a somewhat unpredictable and capricious partner.
In the circumstances, Erdogan’s India visit is crucial: it is his second visit after 2008, and though President had come to Delhi in 2010, this is the first summit level meeting in New Delhi after a long hiatus and his first foreign visit after winning the April 16 vote consolidating his powers.

Business relations, however, were quickly established as the bedrock of the relationship.

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