President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday. (Source: PTI)

Modi Pitches India As Investment Destination To Turkey 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Turkish businesses to invest in sectors like energy, rail, road, ports and housing, saying India was never a better investment destination than it is now.

Addressing business leaders present at the India-Turkey Business Summit, which was also attended by visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Modi stressed the need for a substantial increase in the economic engagement between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said although the bilateral trade between India and Turkey has gone up to $6.4 billion in 2016 from 2.8 billion in 2008, it is still far behind the real potential.

“India and Turkey enjoy good economic ties. While this (trade growth) is encouraging, the level of present economic and commercial relation is not enough against the real potential,” Modi said.

Observing that India and Turkey, which are among the top 20 economies of the world with strong fundamentals, can substantially increase bilateral cooperation in several areas, the Prime Minister said, “The time has come to make aggressive effort to deepen relationship and enhance bilateral engagement."

Promising a business friendly environment, Modi said the Turkish construction companies can participate in India's infrastructure sector development, especially in sectors like ports, rail, housing, energy, hydrocarbon, tourism, textiles and auto.

Modi also highlighted India's low-cost manufacturing capabilities before the Turkish businessmen while seeking investment.

Speaking on the occasion, Turkish President Erdogan also made a strong case for deepening and strengthening bilateral ties to achieve the actual trade potential between the two nations.

He also suggested that India and Turkey should initiate free-trade agreement talks and look for possibility of bilateral trade in domestic currencies to tide over the issue of exchange rate fluctuation.

“We should increase our business and economic relationship, if we can also start the comprehensive economic relations negotiation that would be great. It would be also good to start free-trade agreement talks. This would also add further momentum to our relations,” he said.

Erdogan, however, underlined the need for balancing the trade saying it was highly in favour of India.

He also called upon Indian businessmen to increase investments in Turkey stressing that his country was “ideal place for investment and production”.

The businessmen of the two countries, he said, could also join hand to explore investment opportunities in third countries.