Osaka, Jun 29 : India and Turkey on Saturday decided to explore in what manner the two countries can have enhanced defence ties."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 told reporters here briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."Some discussions also took place on defence manufacturing," he said.
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".
Much to the chagrin of Trump administration, tensions have mounted between Turkey and the US in recent months as Turkey has remained defiant about receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile defense system.The US had threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey and India as well on the defence ties with Russia.In fact ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit, the US officials have tried to convince Indian side against the idea of purchasing S-400 system despite Indo-Russian bilateral deal was signed last year.The Modi government had made it clear that New Delhi would not encourage any ideas or plans to scrap the S-400 deal.
In fact, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on May 26 told journalists in Delhi in presence of Mr Pompeo that India will be guided by its national interest.Making a tightrope diplomatic walk, both Mr Modi and President Donald Trump did not talk about S-400 at the bilateral talks on Friday. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has maintained that the contentious S-400 issue on India-Russia defence deal did not figure at the parleys.
"S-400 issue was not discussed...there was an issue of time constraints," he said.
However, he has asserted rather categorically, - "No one issue is going to impact the larger strategic relations between India and the United States". (UNI)