The Hindu – Man in Pakistan custody came under the Anti-Terrorism Squad scanner in 2003

He went missing in 2006 and later that year crossed the border, say police

Rupanwita Bhattacharjee

Mumbai, 22 May 2017. Nabi Ahmed Sheikh, the Mumbai native who has been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly staying in the country with invalid documents, was under the scanner of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in 2003 and crossed the Jammu border to enter Pakistan three years later, senior officers confirmed to The Hindu on Monday.

Sheikh, a native of Jogeshwari in Mumbai, was arrested in Islamabad on May 19 after a routine screening at a checkpost revealed that he did not have a valid visa and other documents to enter Pakistan.

A highly placed source said, “Sheikh was last seen in Mumbai in early 2006 and later crossed the Jammu border to go to Pakistan. We have had multiple confirmations of this fact.”

To Dubai, for a job

Sources said Sheikh left his residence telling his family that he was going to Dubai for a job opportunity. His brother was accompanying him to the Mumbai airport the day he left but Sheikh made him to get off the cab on the way and was never heard from since then. Shortly thereafter, investigating agencies learned that he had entered Pakistan through the Jammu border.

ATS officers said he first came under the scanner of multiple investigative agencies in 2002-2003, when the December 2002 Ghatkopar blasts were being investigated.

“A group of young men from Jogeshwari (east) were picked up for inquiries at the time in connection with the blasts in Mumbai for their affiliations to the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was ultimately found to be behind the blasts.

The interrogation of these men had revealed Sheikh as a suspect and he had been under the scanner since then,” an ATS officer said.

Residents of Sheikh’s locality in Jogeshwari, too, said they had not seen him for years together. Iqbal Ahmed Sheikh, who grew up with Sheikh, or ‘Taj’ as he was called in the area, said, “He was very obedient as a child but he suddenly changed in his late teens.

I started hearing he was involved in illegal activities and his family was shunned by everyone. Nobody wanted to marry his sister, who is well educated and a professor. His father left them years earlier and his mother and siblings, too, moved out later.”

Mehroon Sheikh, another neighbour, said, “Taj used to help his father in his embroidery business. We used to have good relations with his family till they left the area.”

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has spoken to Pakistan’s Foreign Office twice since the arrest of Sheikh Nabi came to light. The Sources told The Hindu that the High Commission contacted the foreign office on Sunday and Monday to share details of the person arrested and requested consular access to him so they can ascertain his identity.

Pakistan police had arrested a man they said was Indian national Sheikh Nabi over incomplete travel documents. Nabi was arrested from the F-8 sector in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad and booked under the Foreigner’s Act 1946 and then sent to 14-days of judicial custody.Meanwhile Ministry of External Affairs has refused to comment.

With inputs from Mubashar Zaidi

The Hindustan Times – Caught between Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir and China’s OBOR, India must stand on its own

India should prepare for a two-front military deterrent capability, and reach out to Japan and South Korea to strengthen its position in Asia

Shishir Gupta

Op/Ed, 20 May 2017. When Pakistan National Security Advisor Nasir Janjua met his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in Bangkok on December 6, 2015, he was told that no less than 79 Pakistani nationals were languishing in Indian jails on terrorism related charges.

Doval told Janjua that there were documented records, including valid passports, to prove they were Pakistanis.

While Janjua tried to fob off the charges as irrelevant to the discussion, one of the delegates in the meeting asked him to show one Indian incarcerated in Pakistani jail on terrorism-related charges.

At that time, General (Retired) Janjua had no answers.

Three months later, former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was picked up ostensibly from Balochistan on charges of abetting terrorism and spying. He was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on April 10, 2017, suggesting the Rawalpindi GHQ will go to any lengths to spite India.

The sentence now stands stayed by International Court of Justice (ICJ), thanks to deft moves by the Modi government.

On April 26, 2017, the Pakistan military released confession of arrested Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan saying that his organisation was being funded by “Kafir” RAW, the Indian external intelligence agency, for carrying out terror operations in Pakistan.

While India may mock at the ham-handedness of Pakistan Army in extracting so-called confessions from both Jadhav and Ehsan, within a span of 15 months of the Janjua meeting, New Delhi had been placed at parity with Islamabad for sponsoring terrorism in the neighbouring country.

India may cry foul over coercion of Jadhav till kingdom comes, but it is our word against Pakistani army’s for the rest of the world.

Simultaneously, with the Jadhav card, the Pakistan army scuttled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s December 25, 2015 peace initiative by orchestrating the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist strike at Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016, and followed it by pushing in as many infiltrators as possible into the Kashmir Valley.

Capitalising on the public anger over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani last July 8 in a police encounter, the deep state of Pakistan achieved a remarkable objective of orchestrating a hate-Kashmiri campaign in hinterland India, where even the India supporters in the Valley were tarnished by the same brush and subjected to ridicule.

Forgotten were the 88,951 Kashmiri voters who had the remarkable courage to vote in the April 9, 2017 Srinagar Lok Sabha election amidst all mayhem and affirmed their faith in Indian democratic process.

As if this was not enough, Pakistan has now virtually become a client state of China by joining the one belt, one road (OBOR) initiative amidst much fanfare this month. The $62 billion economic corridor goes through northern areas and occupied-Kashmir to Gwadar in Balochistan.

Three years after he assumed office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today faces a daunting challenge to national security from Pakistan through terrorism and internal subversion, and from China, which is choking New Delhi through encirclement diplomacy or OBOR in South Asia.

To be fair to PM Modi, he made huge efforts to reach out to both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but both moves were shot down by powerful army leaderships in those countries.

Be it the Peoples Liberation Army or Pakistan Army, any peace initiative from perceived adversary India will be scuttled by military stand-offs like the 2014 Chumar or the 2016 Uri attacks.

The security challenge to Modi government is getting severe as its newfound ally US is being ruled by a temperamental President, who is now being investigated on charges of blocking an FBI inquiry into his former NSA leaking secrets to India’s old ally Russia.

Despite Indian overtures at the highest level, its tried and tested ally Russia is now playing the piano to Chinese tunes.

The situation may appear tight for India but those who recommended to New Delhi to participate in OBOR initiative to appease China must not forget the February 22, 1994 Parliament resolution of getting Occupied Kashmir vacated from Pakistan. Signing on OBOR with CPEC running through PoK would have been political suicide for Modi government.

While India must now prepare for a two-front military deterrent capability, given the umbilical relationship of Pakistan and China, the new challenges also gives New Delhi an opportunity to come out on its own.

The global high table has no free lunches and to believe that Indian rise would be largely benign and uncontested is a fallacy.

India should push for stronger engagement with China and even Pakistan, but such a move should be dictated by long term national interest, not weakness.

Time has come for PM Modi to engage the politicians in Kashmir linked with Indian democratic processes to find lasting peace in Valley as well as empower those whose aspirations lie with India like Lt Ummer Fayaz.

On a global front, India needs to look beyond its immediate neighbours and diplomatically engage countries like Japan, Korea and economic power houses of West Asia. If the Modi government can bring peace and connectivity to North-East, then the southern silk road, linking South East Asia to Moreh in Manipur, could be an answer to China OBOR.

Pakistani politicians and journalists often suffer from severe anti-Indian bias
Indian politicians and journalists often suffer from severe anti-Pakistan bias
Man in Blue

Dawn – ‘A foreign policy disaster’: What Indian papers say about Modi’s boycott of OBOR

As dozens of world leaders arrived in Beijing to attend the “Belt and Road Forum” hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, India refused to send an official delegation to the summit.

India has maintained that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, is a violation of its sovereignty and therefore, cannot be accepted. India remains particularly incensed that projects under CPEC cut through the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Three major Indian news publications in their editorials or op/eds have largely criticised India’s refusal to attend the summit in Beijing, calling it a failure the country’s foreign policy and diplomacy.

Others maintained that India’s reservations regarding Beijing’s OBOR initiative are valid.

“India’s objection to CPEC is extremely valid, but the moot point remains that we were not able to carry any of the big powers on the vital question of Westphalian sovereignty.

“The One Belt One Road conference convened by the People’s Republic of China over the weekend to unveil and showcase the most ambitious connectivity project of modern times represents the grandest failure of Indian foreign policy and it’s quarantine into splendid isolation.

“By boycotting the summit rather than showing up and making our voice heard loud and clear in the comity of nations, India has in fact sent out a message that it will make proforma noise on this issue but actually acquiesce to the fait accompli.”

India cannot sit out: The Hindu

“[India’s] concerns are no doubt valid, and the refusal to join the [OBOR initiative] till China addresses the objection over Gilgit-Baltistan is understandable. The decision to not attend even as an observer, however, effectively closes the door for diplomacy.

It stands in contrast to countries such as the US and Japan, which are not a part of the B&RI but sent official delegations.”

“It must actively engage with China to have its particular grievances addressed, articulate its concerns to other partner countries in a more productive manner, and take a position as an Asian leader, not an outlier in the quest for more connectivity.”

India strikes out for its own interest: Times of India

India has undertaken an uncharacteristically bold foreign policy move by refusing to participate in the OBOR summit in Beijing, meant to be China’s grand coming out globalisation party.

It may, in fact, be salient for New Delhi and MEA to study Chinese negotiation technique over the last three or four decades and imbibe some of it, especially when it comes to negotiating with Beijing itself.”

India has its reasons to boycott China’s Belt Road initiative – Hindustan Times

“India has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China’s continent-spanning infrastructure project. The reasons for New Delhi’s scepticism about the Belt-Road Initiative may not seem evident. They become clear, however, when seen through the prism of geopolitics.

It is increasingly difficult to buy Beijing’s arguments that their plan to splash a few trillion dollars around the world is a benign gift to the world.

In any case, India has never said it would try to undermine or block Chinese projects in other countries, merely that it would not be signing up for the initiative. It remains an open question why Beijing is so insistent that India endorse the BRI, especially given that it has seen fit to turn against New Delhi in almost every other international fora including the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”

The Business Standard took a similar positions, saying India’s caution on OBOR is well founded.

“India should be cautious about participating in other components of the OBOR as well,” the publication’s editorial reads.

The Hindustan Times – India may skip Xi’s showpiece Belt and Road summit over sovereignty concerns

Riled by Beijing’s nonchalance over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that impinges on India’s sovereignty, New Delhi is set to skip President Xi Jinping’s showpiece Belt and Road Forum (BRF) summit in the Chinese capital.

Jayanth Jacob

New Delhi, 13 May 2017. India will likely skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF) summit, a signature project of President Xi Jinping beginning in Beijing on Sunday, due to New Delhi’s concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through a disputed area in Kashmir.

There was no formal statement from the external affairs ministry but sources said India won’t attend the meet following a series of tussles between the two big Asian economies over matters related to sovereignty.

Twenty nine countries are expected to be represented by either their heads of state or government at the BRF, President Xi’s ambitious initiative to connect Asia to Europe and Africa with a massive network of rail, road and maritime links.

The infrastructure project, couched in China’s soft power projections, would help China get road routes that are necessary for both its energy needs and selling goods in Asian, European and African markets.

The China-Pakistan economic corridor, a showpiece project of the initiative, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). India has been protesting China’s economic activities in PoK but skipping the high-profile meet amounts to making a very strong disapproval.

India is concerned that the 3,000 km long project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang stem from the fact that the facility in Pakistan, which was taken over by the Chinese, could become a future naval base that will enable Beijing to increase its sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Beijing has been nonchalant about the CPEC impinging on India’s sovereignty as it passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region which India claims as its own.

In recent days, China has tried to assuage India’s feelings by asserting that the commercial corridor will not have any impact on its stand that the Kashmir issue should be settled by New Delhi and Islamabad through dialogue.

Over the past year, New Delhi and Beijing have locked horns over India’s entry into the NSG club, a proposed UN ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar and the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had said on April 17 that India would have a representative at the BRF.

“Although the Indian leader is not here, India will have a representative,” Wang had told journalists.

While India is yet to formally announce that it won’t attend the meet, the US in a u-turn on Friday decided to send a delegation to the BRF after initially saying it wouldn’t attend.

Matthew Pottinger, a top adviser to the Trump administration and National Security Council senior director for East Asia will lead the US delegation. And Beijing will be undoubtedly pleased with this.

Playing down India’s absence at the meeting, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press conference on Friday that Indian scholars would be attending the meeting.

Japan will be sending a delegation led by a vice-minister.

The May 14-15 summit, which is expected to strengthen Xi’s power base as he gets set to begin his second five-year tenure later this year, will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A number of other countries, including South Korea, France, Germany and UK, have deputed either ministerial or official delegations.

Considering CPEC’s importance in the plan, it is the only project at present with prospects of delivering early results, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to take centrestage to highlight its significance as a “game changer” for his country.

The Pakistani delegation will have five federal ministers and four chief ministers.

China has already committed $46 billion Chinese investments for various energy and infrastructure related projects in Pakistan.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe will be attending the meeting after hosting his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at home.

From Nepal, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara will lead the delegation. Bangladesh and the Maldives will also have official representations.

The Hindu – Valley seethes at Fayaz killing

Locals assisting Army in hunt for terrorists after death of popular young officer

Dinakar Peri

New Delhi, 12 May 2017. The Army has claimed that the cold-blooded killing of its young officer, Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, in Shopian has angered the local population, who are now actively assisting security forces in locating the terrorists responsible.

In recent times the security forces have been struggling for reliable ground intelligence. “There is angst and undercurrent as to why was it done to him.

It will come out sometime. That is also the likely reason no group has claimed responsibility so far. It will turn the tide against them,” an Army source said on Thursday.

Handiwork of locals

The Lashkar-e-Taiba has a strong influence in the area where the incident occurred but the Army suggests that the killing may have been carried out by locals. Lt Fayaz was abducted on his way to his cousin’s wedding in the Batapura area around 10 pm on Tuesday. His body was found the next day morning with two bullet injuries in Harmein area.

The terrorists, at least three, who abducted him are believed to be unarmed. They took him normally due to which the family did not suspect anything wrong and so no alarm was raised when he did not return.

“They might have taken him in a very friendly way,” the source stated and said that there was a Company Operating Base (COB) around one kilometre away.

Lt. Fayaz, a native of Kulgam district, was on leave but had not contacted the nearest COB as all personnel are advised to do. Normally when personnel from Kashmir go on vacation they keep a low profile so as not to attract unwanted attention.

There are 29 officers from the Kashmir Valley in the three services.

The Army believes that Lt. Fayaz was targeted especially because he was hugely popular in the area as he excelled in sports. “He was even invited to local functions. He was also a jovial person and mixed with everyone. That could have been the reason he was picked up,” the sources said.

Lt. General Abhay Krishna, Army Commander South Western Command and Colonel Commandant of Rajputana Rifles, called the incident a “watershed moment” and said people would decisively “turn the tide” against terrorism.

Dawn – India will retaliate to soldiers’ mutilation at time and place of choosing: Indian vice-COAS

Karachi, 03 May 2017. Despite Islamabad’s repeated rejection of Indian army claims that Pakistani soldiers had killed two Indian soldiers across the Line of Control (LoC) and mutilated their bodies, Indian Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt General Sarath Chand on Tuesday said what the Indian Army “will do” could not be discussed in public, The Hindu reported.

“We will do it at the time and place of our choosing”, Chand threatened, speaking at a public event.

Earlier this week, the Indian army had alleged that Pakistani forces fired rockets and mortar bombs at two Indian posts across the LoC and mutilated the bodies of two soldiers on patrol. The allegation was strongly refuted by the Pakistan Army.

“They said today their forces have not done it. Then who has done it? They have done it and they have to take responsibility and face the consequences,” Chand accused, disregarding Pakistan’s dismissal of the claims.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit was also summoned by the Indian foreign ministry to register a ‘strong protest’ against the mutilation of the soldiers, The Economic Times reported.

According to India’s External Affairs spokesman Gopal Baglay, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar conveyed to Basit “outrage at the killing and the barbaric act of mutilation” of the soldiers.

During a routine weekly hotline contact between the director generals military operations (DGMO) on May 1, the Pakistan Army had rejected the “baseless and unfounded Indian allegations of mutilation of the bodies of Indian army by the Pakistan Army”.

Pakistan’s DGMO had asked his Indian counterpart to provide “actionable evidence” related to the incident and urged the Indian army to look inwards to probe the incident, the ISPR said.

At the time, Pakistan’s DGMO had reiterated that neither had a ceasefire violation occurred in the specified sector, nor had Pakistani troops crossed the LoC.

The military’s media wing said the Pakistani DGMO also highlighted that Pakistan Army was a professional military outfit and upheld the highest standards of conduct.

Interestingly, in January 2013, India had made a similar allegation that Pakistani troops had killed and mutilated two Indian soldiers in Mendhar sector, but investigations by Pakistan Army had found no evidence of the deaths.

The situation along the LoC has been tense, notwithstanding a truce agreement signed by the two sides in November 2003, particularly after the September 2016 attack by suspected militants on an Indian army base in Uri, which had left 18 Indian soldiers dead.

After the attack, India claimed that its troops had conducted surgical strikes across the LoC, but the claim was rejected by Pakistan.

Ever since, a number of civilian and military casualties have occurred on both sides of the divide in cross-border shelling and firing incidents.

The Hindu – The inhuman act is beyond any norms of civility, DGMO tells Pakistan counterpart

Dinakar Peri

New Delhi, 2 May 2017. A day after two soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated by the Pakistan Army on the Line of Control (LoC), Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. General A K Bhatt expressed “grave concern about the incident” in the weekly conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, who rejected it as “baseless.”

“The DGMO has conveyed concern about the presence of Border Action Teams (BAT) training camps in the close vicinity of LoC in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). He conveyed that such a dastardly and inhuman act is beyond any norms of civility and merits unequivocal condemnation and response,” the Army said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Monday, the two soldiers of a joint patrol team of the Army and the Border Security Force were ambushed by a BAT 200 metres from the LoC in KG sector opposite Battal in PoK and two soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.

Lt. General Bhatt said that full fire support was provided by the Pakistan Army post located in the vicinity of the incident.

The bodies’ mutilation charge was promptly rejected by the Pakistan DGMO, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

The DGMO had “rejected baseless and unfounded Indian allegations of mutilation” of Indian Army soldiers’ bodies by the Pakistan Army, it stated. He reiterated that neither any Cease Fire Violations (CFV) occurred in the sector nor crossing of LoC by troops had taken place.

“DGMO Pakistan Army highlighted that Pakistan Army is a professional military outfit and upholds the highest standards of conduct. Allegations of mutilation are an Indian attempt to divert the attention of the world from the situation within the Valley,” the ISPR said.

In addition, the Pakistani DGMO had asked for “actionable evidence” and urged that the Indian Army should look inwards to probe the incidence, it said.

He also cautioned his Indian counterpart that they were fully committed to maintain peace and tranquillity along the LoC and “any misadventure shall be appropriately responded at a place and time of own choosing,” it added.

The News – FO welcomes Turkey’s offer of mediation between Pakistan, India on Kashmir issue

Islamabad, 2 May 2017. Pakistan has welcomed the Turkish president’s offer to strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue.

Ahead of his arrival in New Delhi, President Erdogan remarked: ‘India and Pakistan were both friends of Turkey and he wanted to help strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue,’ the Foreign Office said in a statement issued here.

“The Turkish president has also called for a multilateral approach to settle the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, while calling for an immediate end to bloodshed in Indian occupied Kashmir, which we welcome,” the statement added.

It said, the situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, especially in terms of human rights violations and implications for the regional and global security, due to the unresolved dispute have raised serious concerns across the globe.

Recently, the UN, the OIC and International Community, including the US, have urged the early resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute given the perils for the regional peace and security.

Pakistan has always welcomed the statements and endeavours aimed at addressing the human rights issues in IoK and the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the statement concluded.

Dawn – ISPR denies Indian claim of two soldiers killed, mutilated by Pakistan Army in LoC attack

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday refuted Indian army claims that Pakistani soldiers had killed two members of an Indian army patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) and mutilated their bodies, saying Pakistani soldiers would never disrespect another soldier, even if they were Indian.

“Pakistan Army did not commit any ceasefire violation on the LoC or a BAT action in Buttal sector as alleged by India,” said the ISPR statement.

BAT refers to ‘Border Action Team’.

“Indian blame of mutilating Indian soldiers’ bodies are also false,” added the ISPR statement.

“Pakistan Army is a highly professional force and shall never disrespect a soldier even Indian,” the ISPR statement said in response to the allegations.

The Indian Army had earlier claimed that Pakistani forces fired rockets and mortars at two Indian posts along the LoC.

“In a unsoldierly act by the Pakistan Army the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated,” the Indian Army claimed in a statement, adding that the “despicable act will be appropriately responded”.

The claim from the Indian side came via a tweet from the verified account of the Indian Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information.

The two armies have been facing off for decades across the LoC, an old ceasefire line through the region that both countries claim in full but rule in part.

Tense relations

The two countries have once again locked horns over the Kashmir issue after Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters in held Kashmir after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by Indian forces in July.

Tensions simmered between Pakistan and India over the issue, with incidents of cross-border firing reported with frequency since the last months of 2016.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from the ‘atrocities’ committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

The Hindu – Turkey President Erdogan gets ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan

Modi and Erdogan: Two autocratic ‘democrats’ together ! I agree with him comments on Kashmir, but why does he not apply the same to the Kurdish people, who bravely fight against ISIS, but who Erdogan sees as enemies.
Man in Blue

Internet Desk

New Delhi, 1 May 2017. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in New Delhi on Sunday to hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on key bilateral and regional issues, including India’s NSG membership bid and ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade.

President Erdogan will be hosted at the Dr M A Ansari Auditorium of the Jamia Milia Islamia where Vice-Chancellor Lt General (Retired) M A Zaki will confer the Degree of Doctor of Letters to him.

In recent years, Jamia Milia Islamia has emerged as an important centre for studies in Turkish language and culture.

Setting the stage for intense diplomacy, Turkey has urged for multilateral dialogue to solve the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

In comments made to an Indian TV channel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an end to the casualties in the Valley and said Turkey is willing to be involved in finding a lasting solution to the question of Kashmir.

“We should not allow more casualties to occur and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved, and through multilateral dialogue, I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all, which will benefit both countries,” President Erdogan was quoted as saying in an interview to news channel WION, according to a press release issued by the channel.

Issues relating to regional security, situation in the Middle East, particularly Syria, are likely to figure during talks between Modi and Erdogan.

With Turkey being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the issue of India’s membership bid for the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders.

Turkey is not directly opposed to India’s NSG membership but has been maintaining that the powerful bloc should come out with a system to consider the entry of the countries which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non—Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as also supporting Pakistan’s case.

Apart from his wife Emine Erdogan, the Turkish President is accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation that will take part in a meeting of the India-Turkey Business Forum.

This is Erdogan’s first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 that further consolidated his executive powers.