Turkey joins India in battling terror, backs global convention
New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Putting the 'misunderstanding' over a recent conclave on Afghanistan behind, Turkey Tuesday turned a new chapter in its ties with India by agreeing to jointly combat terror and backed the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Turkey, a flag-bearer of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, is the first country in the group that has agreed to work with India in pushing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that has been embroiled in differences over competing definitions of terrorism.
The two sides decided to firm up an action plan with timelines and specific measures to jointly combat terrorism after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
The two sides also agreed to intensify scientific and technological cooperation and gave an impetus to trade and investment between the two growing economies.
They also agreed to take forward their talks on a free trade area that has the potential to multiply their current $3 billion trade manifold.
Manmohan Singh set the tone for improving relations, which had remained distant in the past due to Turkey's perceived closeness to Pakistan on the one hand and the Western alliance on the other.
Gul's visit is 'an important milestone to review the state of our bilateral relations and to chart a forward-looking agenda for advancing our multi-faceted cooperation,' the prime minister said.
Keen to assuage India after excluding it from a conclave on Afghanistan in Ankara last month, allegedly at the behest of Islamabad, Turkey went on a damage control exercise and lauded India's contribution to Afghanistan.
Stressing that the special relationship between Turkey and Pakistan 'did not in any way create obstructions for Turkey-India relations', Gul expressed the desire to work together with India in bringing stability to Afghanistan.
The Turkish president sought to allay India's concerns, saying Turkey would 'have liked India to be there and hoped that India would be able to participate in yet another meeting relating to developments in Afghanistan that would be hosted in Turkey later this year'.
'He wished to avoid any misunderstanding relating to a recent meeting in Istanbul on Afghanistan, which emerged from a trilateral format involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey,' the external affairs ministry said.
The joint declaration on terrorism came as a shot in the arm for New Delhi as India has been pushing for the finalisation of the CCIT since 1996. The two sides agreed to work together and with other like-minded States for the finalisation of the CCIT at the earliest, said the joint declaration on terrorism.
The convention has been embroiled in differences over the definitions of terrorism with the OIC countries opposing a bid to bring armed forces of states within its purview.
The declaration recognises that 'terrorism poses a great threat to global peace and stability, denounces those who sponsor, abet and instigate terrorism and provide them safe heavens, decides to enhance cooperation in this field by developing an action plan with timelines and specific measures'.
Indo Asian News Service