India's Ambassador to Ankara Sanjay Bhattacharyya praised the developing ties between India and Turkey, underscoring that the political, military and economic relations could be pushed to an even higher level.
"Turkey is a major player in the region and our relations with it is a huge priority for us," Bhattacharya told Daily Sabah, and added that, "There is a deep desire on our side to further strengthen this relationship."
Presenting his credentials to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month, Bhattacharyya highlighted that regarding politics, military and the economy, the two sides could increase their cooperation.
Stressing that political security is a significant pillar in the ties, the ambassador said: "Terrorism is a great concern for both countries. We face cross-border terrorism in India. Together we need to work to fight terrorism."
"Regarding the military aspect of our ties, we will push it to a new level so that there is a better understanding of cooperation between the two sides, including much more exchanges between military personnel, training and joint exercises," he added.
In relation to the recent developments regarding Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, the Indian envoy stated, "The recent agreement that has been reached by Turkey and Russia in Sochi must be welcomed for the steps taken for the maintenance of peace and security." Previously, Ankara and Moscow reached an agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, which is the last opposition stronghold in Syria, and clear all radical groups from the region. The agreement has been welcomed internationally as it prevented a possible humanitarian crisis in the case of a full-scale operation against the city. India-Turkey comprehensive economic partnership deal to reach mutual economic goals The Indian envoy stated that as one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, India could increase its economic cooperation with Turkey, which would benefit both countries.
"We have $7 billion [in trade], which might seem like a big number, but if we look at our economies, we could do a lot more," the envoy said.
He also underlined: "When our leaders met last year, they identified a target of $10 billion in trade, so we are working toward that. I think a number of instruments are needed to reach that goal. We need a mechanism such as a free trade agreement or a comprehensive economic partnership agreement."
On April 30, 2017, Erdoğan paid an official visit to India, the first one at the presidential level in seven years. During his visit, he held bilateral meetings with then President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari as well as India's current prime minister, Narendra Modi.
"I am excited that Turkey is looking into the Asian market. We are a very dominant player in this market. As Turkey expands its perspective on Asia, I am sure we will see more cooperation," he added. Touching on India's cultural ties with Turkey, the ambassador stressed that the Indian Embassy in Ankara will organize various events to enhance ties. Bhattacharyya said there will be yearlong events to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. "Gandhi was born in India and a citizen of India, but I think he is a citizen of the world," he said, adding that on Oct. 2, a peace walk will be organized in Ankara as part of the commemorations.