Turkey has expressed an interest to increase air connectivity with India to develop trade and tourism between the two countries.
Burak Akcapar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, called on Union Minister of Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju in New Delhi on Monday and discussed the matter.
Akcapar stressed the need to increase air connectivity between Turkey and India, by increasing the currently operating flights by both countries.
The Ambassador also expressed enthusiasm to connect Turkey with more Indian states by air to promote tourism, and Raju agreed to study the proposals putforth by Turkey.
According to Akcapar, Turkey wants to double flights between the country and Indian cities Delhi and Mumbai to enhance tourism, trade and investment opportunities. He stated that increasing flights with more Indian destinations will help boost the tourism sector in both countries. Currently, a total of seven flights are being operated between Turkey and Mumbai/Delhi.
Turkey has completed all the procedures from its side to increase the number of flights between the countries, and now the Indian government has to act, the Ambassador said.
To enhanced trade and investment relations between the two countries, there is a need to bring more awareness among business fraternity of both countries about the mutual trade and investment opportunities, Akcapar added.
The Turkey Ambassor also pointed out that India's trade with his country is low, compared to countries like China and African countries. Hence, there is a need to increase two-way commerce.
According to Akcapar, the bilateral trade in 2011-12 stood at $4.5 billion. There are huge opportunities to tap in Turkey's IT and automobile sectors for India's business community, he added.
Akcapar also underlined the need to increase cultural cooperation between India and Turkey, and inivted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Turkey.
Minerals, fertilisers, nuclear reactors and machinery are among the major imports by India from Turkey. India's exports to the country include pharma, manmade yarn and electronic goods.
Turkey's total exports were $143.5 billion by 2011 and 2012, the exports increased to $163 billion. However, in 2012, Turkey's imports touched $229 billion, threatening its balance of trade.