India invites Turkish investors for multi-billion dollar infrastructure development projects
Sevil Erkuş - NEW DELHI/BANGALORE
Indian officials have welcomed Turkey’s efforts in launching the “Asia Anew” initiative, which is aiming to boost bilateral ties, particularly trade with the prominent markets of the region, such as China and India.
India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, wants to see Turkish investors in its trillion-dollar development projects, according to Indian officials.
In parallel to structural reforms in its economy, India has launched ambitious development projects with large budgets to be realized by 2025.
Citing projects such as 400 new airports, more than 600 railway stations, 1000 kilometers of metro lines, 10,000 km of high-speed rail, 175 gigawatt of renewable energy, more than 100 Smart Cities, 35 logistics parks, five industrial corridors, India’s investment agency “India Invest,” officials call on Turkish businesspeople to invest in India, as the agency offers support for consultancy in project opportunities, local regulations, project opportunities and other logistic needs.
“There is a lot of opportunity for infrastructure, for developments. Every small sector is a multi-billion dollar, multi-trillion-dollar opportunity,” Invest India chair Vivek Abraham told Hürriyet Daily News, noting that the agency has facilitated 37 business requests from Turkey so far.
“The top sectors have been heavily manufacture-driven. We also have several infrastructure and development-related queries. Our imports from Turkey have grown significantly. There is potential for us to do much more. In terms of investment, although the figures are small, we are working on all cases to ensure the transfer into actual investment,” he said.
In terms of construction, there is every element of infrastructure, he noted, as Turkish construction companies are dominant in foreign investments of Turkey.
He cited a grand industrial zone PPP project, which amounts to $100 billion. “Currently we are connecting Delhi and Mumbai with a 150-km-wide corridor where you can build dedicated industrial parks. We got about 24 new cities coming into this corridor.”
India to build 100 smart cities
Every minute, 30 Indians in villages move to cities, Abraham said. “Which means by 2025, we will need 100 new cities the size of London. We are building 100 new smart cities in the country to accommodate this population.”
“We want to take our relations to the next high level. The highest importance is given from our side for ties with Turkey,” Indian Foreign Ministry Secretary West Gitesh Sarma said.
He stressed that he does see a problem in boosting trade ties. “In fact, Turkey has a very good location. As far as we discover each other, there will be more kinds of cooperation.”
Asked about political indifferences such as Turkey’s close ties with Pakistan and if its position on the Kashmir dispute might be an obstacle in enhancing economic ties, Sarma underlined that for businessmen, the politics are not a central point for them. “They look at opportunities and advantages,” he noted.
“It’s not our business to talk about other countries, it’s your independent policy. Why should we interfere with good relations with another country?” he said, adding that Turkey and India should be able to deal with each other’s sensitive issues.
“Today is the time of opportunities. Every country tries to keep its options open and keep talking to the others as well.”
According Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy, working for the think tank IDSA that works with the government of India, the two countries failed to reach the potential of economic relations, the primary factor was that Turkey focused on the West, rather than the east. Chinoy also said they expect Turkey to take a more balanced approach toward the Kashmir issue.
Bilateral trade reached $8.7 billion after Erdoğan’s visit
Turkey’s Ambassador to India Şakir Torunlar said the bilateral trade volume wedged between $ 6.5 billion in the past five to 10 years, but this figure has reached $8.7 billion in 18 months after the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to India. In 2016, the number of Indian visitors to Turkey amounted to 67,000, but in 2018 it increased to 147,000, the ambassador said. The total number of Indian weddings held in Turkey was only three until 2018, but this number reached 22 last year, he noted.
Turks visit Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur mostly
In 2014, 24,000 Turkish tourists visited India, and this number was 33,000 in 2018, according to Culture and Tourism Minister Shri Prahlad Singh Patel. Most of the Turkish tourists visit Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, the most popular destinations.
“Gradually the number of tourists coming from Turkey is increasing. India gives a lot of options for tourism. Ecotourism, expedition tourism. If you look at the northeast of India, tourists want to come and experience the tribal stay, they want to learn how the things were done earlier. In alternative tourism, there are a lot of tourists who come to understand what yoga is and wellness is all about. It’s being sold as detox tourism. There is so much of the presence of technology in our lives. The idea is that you learn to live without technology for a few days and go back to nature. Tourists stay at least two weeks for Ayurveda and wellness purposes.”
He pointed at the website www.incredible.org where one can have all information of experience in India.