West Asia Experts Group Meeting
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The West Asia Experts Group Meeting was virtually held on 4 August 2021 by the Vivekananda International Foundation, the discussion was focussed on India-Turkey Relations; Turkey’s Foreign Policy and its Regional role. The key speakers in the session were the Indian Ambassador to Turkey, Amb. Sanjay Panda and Abhinav Pandya, CEO, USANAS Foundation; members attending and contributing were Amb. Anil Trigunayat (Coordinator); Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF; Lt. Gen. Ravi Sawhney; Lt. Gen. Ata Hasnain; Amb. Satish Chandra; Amb. Anil Wadhwa; Amb. Sanjay Singh and Prof. Kingshuk Chatterjee.

India enjoys warm bilateral relations with Turkey. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the G20 Summit held in Antalya on 15-16 November 2015 on the margins of the Summit. Prime Minister held bilateral talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prime Minister Modi and President Erdogan held talks in Hangzhou on 5 September 2016 on the side-lines of the G20 Summit. The two leaders interacted with each other on the side-lines of BRICs Plus meeting in Johannesburg on 25-27 July 2018 and met on the side-lines of G-20 in Osaka on 29 July 2019. President Erdogan paid a state visit to India on 30 April -1 May, 2017.
Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) at Secretary-level were institutionalized through a Protocol signed in April 2000 and the last round of consultations was held on 8 May 2019 in New Delhi. The 4th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism was held in Ankara on 4 July 2019. A new bilateral mechanism ‘India-Turkey Policy Planning Dialogue’ was institutionalized between the two Foreign Ministries with the first round held virtually on 22 October 2020.

Turkey on regional level has established itself as an economic and military powerhouse. It has managed to capitalise its relations with the US and the European states to maximise its geopolitical role. Turkey’s stand on Chinese treatment of Xinjiang issue has emerged as major irritant and engagement levels have scaled down in the recent period. Turkey enjoys firm tactical relationship with Russia.

On regional level, Turkey has preserved its military bases in north-western areas to hinder actions by Syrian forces against rebel held areas and control the inflow of refugees and north-eastern Syria to contain Kurdish groups. Turkey has supported the Tripoli based Government of National Accord and played a critical role to thwart Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Turkey’s supported Azerbaijan’s efforts to make territorial gains in Nagorno-Karabakh. In terms of allies, it enjoys firm relations with Qatar, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Malaysia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has induced a major health crisis in Turkey and severely affected the economy. The share of tourism that contributes a significant chunk in Turkey’s economy has severely gone down. Turkey is keen to intensify economic engagement with India that could rehabilitate the economic situation.

Event Date 
August 4, 2021

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