India and Turkey To Expand Defence Relations, Enhance Bilateral Ties

India and Turkey have reportedly decided to explore various avenues to expand their bilateral relations. The heads of both countries decided to discuss and expand how the countries can have enhanced defence ties. Turkey has been a vehement ally of India’s arch-rival Pakistan and does not share a very strong rapport with New Delhi.

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“There was a general discussion on how the two countries can cooperate and see there is any possibility of working together (on defence matters),” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar addressed the journalists at a briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With both Turkey and India defiant to the threats of the US, the Trump administration have had to keep down their protectionist tendencies during recent interactions. Earlier this month, Turkey had gone through with the S-400 defence systems deal with Russia despite threats of sanction from the US. Following suit, India too stayed its ground against threats of sanctions.

The US government had threatened both the countries and Russia of sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s visit to India involved the US trying to dissuade India from engaging with Russia on the S-400 deal. Modi made it clear that the decision on the S-400 was made in the account of what is best for India’s interest and that nothing would dissuade him from the deal with Russia.

The recent G20 summit saw US and India engaged in bilateral talks on the sidelines. The sources suggest that the S-400 deal did not track within the conversation due to “time constraints”.

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Asked specifically whether defence issues vis-a-vis Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSA) of the US government figured at the talks as Turkey too like India has defence ties with Russia and would be procuring S-400 defence system, the spokesman said: “With Turkey I think the discussion was very broad as to how the two countries can work together on defence. These meetings are on sidelines (of G20) and you don’t get enough time to discuss these topics in detail”.

However, he has asserted rather categorically, – “No one issue is going to impact the larger strategic relations between India and the United States”.