India on Monday turned down Turkey’s offer to mediate with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, emphasising that it was a bilateral matter. The two sides have also resolved to jointly counter international terrorism.
The issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the context of cross-border terror figured prominently during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with PM Modi. India’s position was unequivocally conveyed to Erdogan, who had earlier offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, a long-standing ally of Turkey. It is no secret that Turkey has supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir at Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other fora for decades.
Briefing reporters after the dialogue, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said: “The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. India’s position on cross-border terror and Kashmir was conveyed to the visiting President. It was also conveyed to him that Kashmir is an issue related to terror and there could be no justification for terror.
PM Modi told the President that India has been a victim of state-sponsored terror for four decades.” Baglay reiterated India’s long-standing view that all matters between Delhi and Islamabad must be addressed bilaterally as per the Shimla Agreement. Earlier, addressing a joint press meet following his dialogue with Erdogan, PM Modi said he had an extensive conversation with President Erdogan on the matter and added that both of them agreed that “no intent or goal, no reason or rationale can validate terrorism”.
“The nations of the world, therefore, need to work as one to disrupt the terrorist networks and their financing and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists,” he said, adding: “They also need to stand and act against those that conceive and create, support and sustain, shelter and spread these instruments and ideologies of violence.”
Modi said he and Erdogan “agreed to work together to strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to effectively counter this menace”. The PM thanked President of Turkey for his support to India’s NSG membership and support in MTCR and Wassenar Group. Erdogan in his remarks to the press said Turkey would always be by the side of India “in full solidarity” in battling terrorism.
Erdogan also stated that he and Modi discussed the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July last year in which over 300 people, both civilians and security personnel, lost their lives. The Turkish government has blamed the US-based preacher and political activists Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt. Erdogan expressed hope that India would expel all those linked to the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation.
Reacting to this, MEA spokesperson said that any organisation working here have to abide by Indian law. Trade and investments were the other key focus areas. India and Turkey agreed to boost bilateral trade from the current level of over $6 billion to $ 10 billion by 2020. Modi also sought Turkish investments for his pet projects.