With growth in bilateral trade between India and Turkey and remarkable stability even in volatile global economic conditions, the two nations that figure out in top 20 global economies deliberated on stronger political and business ties. “I understand that bilateral trade has increased significantly since President Ergodan last visited India. It has gone up from US Dollar 2.8 billion in 2008 to 6.4 billion in 2016. While this is encouraging, the level of present economic and commercial relations is not enough against the real potential,” said Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at at India-Turkey Business Summit held in New Delhi on May 01, 2017. The said Summit had India’s leading chambers including CII, FICCI and Assocham to name a few, hand holding the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate deliberations with their counterparts from Turkey.
- “There is huge potential and opportunity to enhance the bilateral engagement. This is possible through trade and FDI inflows, technology tie-up, and cooperation on various projects. In this context, we have seen some increase in participation of Turkish companies in India. This has come through investment in blue chip Indian companies and FDI route in the last few years. However, such cooperation could go upto small and medium enterprises. Today’s knowledge-based global economy is continuously opening new areas. We must factor this in our economic and commercial interactions,” he added.
Further, giving a lead in the direction of the sectors that the two nations can collaborate, Modi highlighted that that Turkish construction companies have successfully undertaken many construction and infrastructure projects in other countries. “Our infrastructure requirements are enormous, including core as well as social and industrial infrastructure. We are keen to build it strong and build it fast. Turkish companies can easily participate in this task. Just to give you some examples: We have planned to build 50 million houses by 2022. For this purpose, we have repeatedly refined our FDI Policy in construction sector; We are planning metro rail projects in fifty cities and high speed trains in various National corridors; We have targeted 175 Giga Watt of renewable energy in next few years; In addition to generation of electricity, the issues of transmission, storage and distribution are equally important for us; We are modernising our Railways and upgrading our Highways. In the last three years, we have made maximum allocation for these two sectors; We are putting up new ports and modernizing the old ones through an ambitious plan called Sagarmala; similar focus is on upgrading the existing Airports and putting up regional airports to enhance connectivity to the places of economic and tourist importance,” highlighted Modi
The Turkish tourism sector is globally renowned. The number of Indian tourists going to Turkey has increased in the last few years. Turkey has also become a popular destination for shooting of Indian films and for television industry. Hence, Modi reflected to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, to further encourage two-way tourism on lines of deepening of bilateral ties.
“We are aware that India and Turkey are both energy deficient and our energy needs are ever increasing. Hydrocarbon sector is therefore a common area of interest for both countries. The same would also be relevant for solar and wind energy. Therefore, the energy sector becomes an important pillar of our bilateral relations. Mining and food processing are other areas with great promise. We can also pool together our strengths in the textile and auto sectors. Turkey has a strong manufacturing sector and India is a low cost manufacturing hub. Besides the cost aspect, we have a large pool of skilled and semi-skilled work force and strong R&D capabilities,” added Modi.
The President of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also expressed his country’s desire to start talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India and prepare the ground for eventually arriving at a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in order to deepen and diversify economic and business cooperation between the two countries. President Erdogan said that the Turkish economy grew at 7.1% between 2011 and 2015. This dipped to 2.9% in 2016, but this year growth was projected at 4.5%. The country offered a large domestic market, a disciplined work force, laws were enacted to promote investments and great importance was being attached to structural economic reforms. Turkey, he said, could partner India in its 100 smart cities project.