Turkish president arriving Sunday; trade, n-energy on agenda (Lead)February 6th, 2010 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) India and Turkey are poised to expand economic ties and explore prospects of civil nuclear cooperation when Turkish President Abdullah Gul comes here Sunday on a five-day state visit.
He will be accompanied by a high-profile business delegation, members of parliament and senior ministers, including Mehmet Aydin, the state minister and co-chairman of the Joint Economic Commission, Health Minister Recep Akdag and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim.
Gul will also visit Agra and Mumbai, and inaugurate the Turkish consulate in Mumbai.
The visit takes place in the shadow of Ankara,allegedly at the behest of Islamabad, keeping New Delhi out of an important conclave it hosted on Afghanistan just ahead of the Jan 28 London conference.
Manmohan Singh is likely to take up the issue when he meets the Turkish president Monday to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues.
The visit will focus on scaling up economic ties between India, the world’s second fastest growing economy, and Turkey, a vibrant economy located strategically between Europe and Asia.
Turkey, considered close to Pakistan, is looking at India afresh as a rising economy and a knowledge power. The Turkish president, during his interaction with industrialists in New Delhi and Mumbai, is expected to make a pitch for attracting more Indian investment.
Bilateral trade crossed $3 billion in 2008. The two countries are now hoping to cross $6 billion in the near future. Turkey is keen to sign a Free Trade Area Agreement (FTA) with India. The issue will figure in delegation-level discussions between the two sides.
Civil nuclear cooperation is also expected to be discussed between the two sides.
Turkey is keen to harness atomic energy for generating electricity. India, with its advanced nuclear technology, is ready to offer Turkey help in constructing civilian reactors.
“Once Turkey decides to go for nuclear energy and looks for international partners, I am sure India will be under consideration,” India’s Ambassador to Turkey Raminder Singh Jassal told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, the oldest English-language daily in Turkey, recently.
“We have a quite advanced nuclear industry that dates back decades and decades,” Jassal said, adding that India is capable of constructing a nuclear plant in Turkey.
“We can provide any kind of support because we have completed the whole nuclear fuel cycle indigenously in India - from mining uranium to producing fuel rod to reprocessing the spent fuel.”
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