Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday invited Turkish companies to invest in sectors and industries such as railways, ports, airports, textiles, auto, energy, tourism and housing.
Addressing a business summit with visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Modi said while it is encouraging that the two sides enjoy good economic ties, the level of present economic and commercial relations is not enough against the real potential.
“As we strive to build stronger political ties, the time has come to also make more aggressive effort to deepen the economic relations,” he said, pointing to new areas of opportunities opened up by the knowledge-based global economy.
Pitching for foreign direct investment in sectors like housing and railways, he said, “We have planned to build 50 million houses by 2022. For this purpose, we have repeatedly refined our FDI policy in construction sector.”
“We are planning metro rail projects in 50 cities and high speed trains in various national corridors...We are putting up new ports and modernising the old ones through an ambitious plan called Sagarmala.”
The prime minister pointed to hydrocarbon, solar and wind energy sectors as common areas of interest for India and Turkey.
He urged chambers of commerce and industry of India and Turkey to engage with each other pro-actively. Turkish businessmen should take advantage of India’s low cost manufacturing capabilities, Modi said.
While Modi noted that bilateral trade has gone up to $ 6.4 billion in 2016 from $2.8 billion in 2008, Erdogan said that steps should be taken for trade balance between India and Turkey.
Turkey wants a free trade agreement and a comprehensive economic partnership agreement to bridge the trade gap with New Delhi.
“This meeting marks a new era of business relations,” Erdogan said, adding the two countries should move to achieve actual business potential of their ties.
India and Turkey can complement each other in several areas including research, the Turkish president said, adding his country can assist in India’s need for rapid infrastructure development.
“Joint trade volume should be balanced. Steps should be taken to achieve that,” Erdogan said.
Earlier in the day, Erdogan was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi received him.
“India is delighted to welcome President Erdogan of Turkey. Will hold talks with him and also address a business summit,” Modi said in a tweet.
Later, Erdogan paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the Turkish President and discussed bilateral issues.
Erdogan, who arrived on Sunday on a two-day state visit to India, is expected to sign a series of agreements after delegation-level talks with Modi on various issues including terrorism.
Erdogan’s visit comes after winning a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that gave him additional executive powers as President. His last visit to India was in 2008 when he was the prime minister.
Mukherjee visited Turkey in 2013. Modi also met Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya in 2015. (With inputs from agencies)