Turkey, India to ‘deepen’ economic ties: Erdoğan

Turkish and Indian leaders stressed the importance of trade and direct investment during a business summit in New Delhi on May 1.

Speaking at the Turkey-India Business Forum, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said meetings held during his official visit to India would mark a new era for business ties, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency has reported.

“Since India gained independence, our relations have been based on friendship. Economic cooperation will be further deepened and diversified. This is our sincere wish and we are determined and committed to achieve this,” Erdoğan said.

He added that the Turkey-India Joint Economy Meetings – last held in 2014 – and negotiations for free-trade agreements should continue.

Stressing on the almost $6.5 billion trade volume between the two countries, Erdoğan said he predicted this figure would increase.

“But it is for sure that the bilateral trade volume is not to Turkey’s favor; that is a reality. As of last year, Turkey’s exports to India were $652 million while its imports from India were $5.75 billion. So, this is not sustainable for Turkey,” Erdoğan added.

“I think it would be beneficial to raise it to $10 billion,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

“We have to increase reciprocal investments and the trade volume should be balanced. As fast as possible, steps should be taken to achieve that,” he added.

Erdoğan also noted that Turkey would like to further develop cooperation with India in the IT, high-tech, software, aerospace and renewable energy sectors where India had made “great progress” under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi calls on Turkish businesses to invest in India

“The growth in our bilateral trade over the years has been impressive. I understand that bilateral trade has increased significantly since President Erdoğan last visited India,” Modi said.

“India and Turkey are among the 20 largest economies in the world. Both economies have shown remarkable stability… We are seeing an increase in the presence of Turkish companies in India. I am certain that it will get even better in the time to come,” he added.

“Our aim is to create an efficient business environment in India. India is seeing a major push for better infrastructure, and Turkish companies can be a part of this massive exercise. We are building more than 30 million homes, developing new airports and sea ports, modernizing our railways, building highways across the country at a rapid pace.

“Turkey can be a part of this,” Modi said.

Turkey, India ‘ideal economic partners’

Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) head Ömer Cihad Vardan said the purpose of the summit was to increase existing trade and investment volumes.

“Unfortunately, the trade volume with Turkey in the $620 billion Indian economy, Asia’s rising market, is fractional,” Vardan said.

“We believe that this meeting is going to be a first step and opportunity for all of us,” he added. “As DEIK, we are going to follow up the process and hope that it continues and efficient communication between the two countries shall contribute to foster double economic activities,” he added.

Pankaj Patel, head of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said Turkey’s geostrategic location and India’s rising economy made the two countries ideal economic partners.

“Victory is for those who can say victory is mine. Success is for those who can begin saying I will succeed and say I have succeeded in the end,” Patel said, quoting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Erdoğan arrived late April 30. He was accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation.