New Delhi: Strategic issues, including India's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid and ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade are expected to be discussed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to India starting today. The visit comes days after a referendum in Turkey on April 16 on whether to change the country from a parliamentary democracy to an executive structure led by the president.
President Erdogan will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1 on key bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. With Turkey being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the issue of India's membership bid of the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders.
When asked whether the issue of NSG will figure during the talks, Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry did not give a direct answer and said, "We remain engaged with Turkey."
Turkey is not opposed to India's NSG membership but has been maintaining that the powerful bloc should come out with a system to consider entry of the countries which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), diplomatic sources said.
China has been opposing India's membership of the NSG on the ground that it is not a signatory to the NPT.
Enhancing anti-terror cooperation will be among the focus areas during PM Modi's talks with Turkish President Erdogan. Ms Ghanashyam said both countries have been victims of terrorism and are battling it.
After a failed coup in July last year to topple Turkish President Erdogan, Turkey had blamed Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) for it and said the outfit has "infiltrated" India. Turkey had also asked India to take action against the organisation.
Asked about the action taken by India so far, she said Turkey had raised it with the government, which has noted their concern.
Calling the FETO a "secretive transnational criminal network" with presence around the world, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a visit here last year, had said, "Unfortunately, the FETO has also infiltrated India through associations and schools."
Asked if the timing of the Turkish President's visit, which immediately comes after the ongoing trip of the Cyprus President, was part of India's balancing act, MEA Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the timings were based on the convenience of the leaders.
Issues relating to regional security, situation in the Middle East, particularly Syria, are likely to figure during talks between PM Modi and Turkish President Erdogan.