Ankara: India`s call for dismantling of Pakistan-based terror infrastructure received a boost on Monday when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped Islamabad would be able to minimise terrorist incidents that claimed many innocent lives.
Terrorism was a key issue in talks between Turkish leaders and President Pranab Mukherjee, who pointed out ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control and its reluctance to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil.
Erdogan said all countries should come together to fight terrorism.
"Countries may not be able to completely destroy terror infrastructure but we hope that Pakistan will be able to minimise terror incidents as many innocents, including Muslims and Christians, fall victim to it in that country," Erdogan was quoted as saying by Indian officials.
He said terrorism is the most important problem facing the world and India and Turkey can benefit from each other`s experiences in dealing with it.
Turkey is a key member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, holding the post of Secretary General of the grouping, and is considered a traditional ally of Pakistan.
Mukherjee held separate meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan during which both sides agreed to deepen their ties in counter-terrorism. They also agreed to be firm against the menace which threatens everyone.
The President pointed to problems faced by India because of cross-border terrorism, Pakistan-based terror infrastructure, and continued infiltration and ceasefire violations on the LoC.
Mukherjee pointed out to Erdogan that immediately after his visit to India in 2008, there was a terror attack in Mumbai and till date India has been asking Pakistan to bring perpetrators of this incident to justice.
He further said terror is the biggest menace threatening peace and tranquillity across the world.
Providing details of the meetings, Special Secretary PS Raghavan, Press Secretary to President Venu Rajamony and Indian Ambassador Susmita Gongulee Thomas told a media briefing there was no mention of Kashmir during the talks.
Besides terrorism, defence cooperation and the situation
in Afghanistan figured in the talks, the officials said. Both sides agreed on the need for reviving cooperation in defence, they said.
The two sides agreed to rework the draft agreement framed in 1994 and kept in cold storage since then, the officials said.
During the talks, Turkish leaders made it clear that their forces would stay on in Afghanistan post-2014 after NATO troops leave, they said.
The Turkish side proposed that Indian and Turkish companies can enter into joint ventures in a third country.
Asked whether such a joint venture could be forged in Afghanistan, Raghavan said, "There could be a possibility. Both India and Turkey want peace in the neighbourhood."
Several memorandums of understanding were signed between universities of both countries. Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia entered into an MoU with Kadir Has University here.
Other MoUs were signed between Delhi University and Ataturk University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Istanbul University and Hyderabad University and Mevlana University.
Doordarshan and All India Radio signed protocols of cooperation with Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.
The Department of Science and Technology entered into a protocol of cooperation with Turkey`s Scientific and Technological Research Council. A similar protocol was signed between the archives of the two countries.
This is the third visit by an Indian President to Turkey after visits in 1993 and 1998. India and Turkey share a common interest in ensuring peace and political stability in Afghanistan and Central Asia, officials said.
Earlier, the President visited the mausoleum of Turkey`s first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
In the golden book at the mausoleum, Mukherjee wrote, "India and Turkey have a long tradition of amity and goodwill. Under the visionary leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Father and Founder of modern Turkey, relations between India and Turkey have grown from strength to strength.
"It is with great humility and pride that I avail of this occasion to pay homage and respects to the statesman and visionary leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk."
Mukherjee cited Rabindranath Tagore`s praise for the Turkish leader and wrote that "Turkey was once called the sick man of Europe until Kemal came and set before us an example of a new Asia, whose living present recalled glories of a dead past".
He added, "Mustafa Kemal Ataturk`s principles also became a source of inspiration for India`s own freedom movement. His vision is even more relevant today than when it was initially propounded over 90 years ago. It is of guiding value not only for Turkey, but for the rest of the world as well."