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Erdogan Meets Modi Today; Wants 'Multilateral' Kashmir Talks, Pak in NSG

Visiting Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a “multilateral dialogue” to resolve the Kashmir issue and, along with India’s, favoured Pakistan’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, saying New Delhi should have no objection to it.

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Updated:May 1, 2017, 10:47 AM IST
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New Delhi: Visiting Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a “multilateral dialogue” to resolve the Kashmir issue. He also favoured Pakistan’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, along with India, saying New Delhi should have no objection to it.

Erdogan arrived in the national capital on Sunday evening ahead of talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reported.

"We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multilateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all," he told WION news channel in an interview.

The Turkish leader said that it is in the interest of India and Pakistan that they should resolve this issue and not leave it for the future generations. "All around the world, there is no better option than keeping the channel of dialogue open. If we contribute towards global peace, we can get a very positive result," he said.

Erdogan said India and Pakistan were both friends of Turkey and he wanted to help strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue.

Replying to questions on the Kurdish problem in Turkey, he said it could not be compared with the Kashmir issue. "We have no problem with the Kurdish people. We have a problem with a terrorist organisation," he said.

"It (the Kurdish problem) is a territorial dispute. In Jammu and Kashmir, the situation is different. Let's not make the mistake of comparing them," he said.

Erdogan will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday on key bilateral and regional issues, including India's NSG membership bid and ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade.

This is Erdogan's first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 that further consolidated his executive powers.

Apart from his wife Emine Erdogan, the Turkish President is accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation that will take part in a meeting of the India-Turkey Business Forum.

Ahead of his visit, India had played down proximity between Turkey and Pakistan as well as Ankara's statements on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government is aware that Turkey has a very close relationship with Pakistan and it is their bilateral matter.

"We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe, the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment," Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, said, adding that India's position on the state of J&K is very well known that it is an integral part of the country. However, she did not respond when asked if India will raise the issue.

With Turkey being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the issue of India's membership bid for the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders.

Turkey is not directly opposed to India's NSG membership but has been maintaining that the powerful bloc should come out with a system to consider the entry of the countries which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as also supporting Pakistan's case, diplomatic sources told PTI.

(With PTI inputs)

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