President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit comes after Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades' tour to India.
New Delhi: Fresh after winning a controversial referendum that gives him sweeping powers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in India today. On a two-day visit to the country, President Erdogan was received by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The two will discuss ways to improve bilateral economic and trade ties. His meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be crucial in view of the crisis in Syria and support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Here are the 10 highlights from Preisdent Erdogan itinerary:
President Erdogan last visited India in 2008 as Turkey's Prime Minister. He will meet Vice President Hamid Ansari before he heads for a discussion with PM Modi at the Hyderabad House on Monday. India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will be the top agenda for this meeting.
Issues relating to regional security, counter-terrosism, intelligence sharing situation in the Middle East, particularly Syria's refugee problem are likely to figure during talks between PM Modi and President Erdogan.
Turkey has made it clear that it does not have any objection to India becoming a member of the NSG unlike China that has been opposing India's membership on the ground that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Turkey had earlier supported India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
Ilnur Cevik, senior adviser to President Erdogan, said, "We feel that we also are interested in nuclear cooperation with India and all other peaceful countries that seek peaceful use of nuclear technology. So, I don't think Turkey at all has any objection to India's membership."
Speaking ahead of the meet, Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said, India is aware of Turkey's close relations with Pakistan but it's a bilateral matter.
She added, "Both India and Turkey have been battling terrorism for long and understand the need for acting against this global menace. We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment."
The other issue which has been a sore point is Fethullah Gulen. After a failed coup in July last year to topple President Erdogan, Turkey had blamed Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and said the outfit has "infiltrated" India.
Turkey had asked India to take action against the FETO. ''Turkish side has raised this issue and we have noted their concern,'' said Ms Ghanashyam.
The Turkish President's visit immediately comes after Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades' tour to India. The northern part of Cyprus has been under Turkish occupation since 1974. India shares friendly relations with both Cyprus and Turkey. MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the timings were based on the convenience of the leaders.
President Erdogan will be accompanied by some cabinet ministers, senior officials and a 150-member business delegation that will participate in the India-Turkey Business Forum.