India and Turkey to boost bilateral trade ties and harness tourism potential of the two countries
Business elite, social dignitaries and heads of several prominent business chambers in India were present when Turkish Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched its Delhi Chapter at a program in The Lalit, Delhi. The event saw thrust on need to develop bilateral trade and promote commercial links between the two countries. The great tourism potential of the two countries also remained subject of discussion during the event.
Turkish Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TICCI) is a business chamber under the umbrella of Tuscon which is a confederation of businessmen and industrialists of Turkey. With its 55,000 members of business people representing about 1,40,000 companies, Tuscon is the largest non-government organization in the Turkish business community. Under Tuscon umbrella there are 7 regional business federations and 212 business affiliations. In India, the first Indo-Turkish Business Association (ITBA) was established in 2005. During the last 10 years, trade between the two countries has increased from 400 US dollars to 7 million US dollars by the efforts of ITBA. TICCI, established last year, already has six branches in India at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai and during the launch of the sixth branch, the business and industrial pundits hoped to work for enhancing the present levels of trade and commerce between the two countries.
Speaking on the occasion, TICCI president Ersin Karaoglan said the main objective of TICCI is to develop bilateral trade and facilitate contacts for exports, joint ventures and alliances. He said his organization will work to promote the “Make in India” campaign to attract Turkish companies to invest in Indian manufacturing. He also said construction, medical tourism, infrastructure and automotive parts business are some of the areas that hold potential for joint ventures between Turkish and Indian companies.
Ersin Karaoglan informed that the value of commerce between the two countries was about $6 billion in 2014, with the balance of trade in India’s favour. Dr. Jyotsna Suri said TICCI and FICCI shall jointly explore opportunities to develop commerce and industry in India between the two countries. She laid great emphasis on need to enhance tourism between the two countries, which will further facilitate trade growth. Elaborating on the potential and need to develop relations across all fields, DS Rawat announced Assocham will soon dedicate a desk to focus on business with Turkey.
As per information available with RNI, more than 150 Indian companies have registered businesses in Turkey in the form of joint ventures, trade and representative offices. These include Polyplex, GMR Infrastructure, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance, Ispat, Aditya Birla Group, Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd, Jain Irrigation, Wipro and Dabur. The event saw several Indian companies expressing interest in joint ventures with Turkish companies.
Turkish companies having presence in India include Limak Construction, Fernas, Sarar, Soktas and Izopoli-Kingspan, and Hidromas. Kamal Faruqi, a prominent social worker from Delhi, informed RNI, that certain Turkish organizations were already doing commendable work in India in the realm of education.
TICCI’s launch event at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi was attended by a number of prominent people. They included President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) – Dr. Jyotsna Suri; President of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Alok B. Shriram; Secretary-General of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) – D.S. Rawat; former Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan and Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony – Ashok Sajjanhar; President of Arya Samaj – Swami Agnivesh; Director of UN Information Center in India Kiran Mehra; Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Jolly; and, TICCI Vice President Mehmet Ali Seker.
The launch of TICCI-Delhi Chapter, felicitation and speeches by guests of honours was followed by a scintillating performance by whirling dervish dancers from Turkey, which enthralled the audience.
TICCI President Ersin Karaoglan welcomed the distinguished guests and pledged greater two-way business possibilities between Turkey and India. He said the six offices of TICCI are already interacting with various Chambers and Industrial Houses in India and said there are many opportunities for investment in a country as big as India. He said Turkey has developed its infrastructure tremendously and expressed hope this expertise can be used to develop infrastructure in India. He said several Turkish companies are gearing up to invest about one trillion US dollars in India in different infrastructure projects, besides investing in education and tourism sector.
Karaoglan informed that Turkey is strategically situated as an entry point to Europe and Indian companies and industries are likely to benefit tremendously through initiating business with Turkey. He cited the similarities between India and Turkey and said both the countries are fast growing, both are secular countries, both are democratic and both have stood for peace in the world. He said TICCI will direct its efforts to pursue Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ plan.
He also talked about travel and tourism opportunities in Turkey and informed that the number of Indians going to Turkey has increased from 60,000 to 1,20,000 in previous years.
Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President FICCI who is also chairperson and managing director of Bharat Hotels which runs the luxury hotel chain The Lalit, has been vigorously promoting travel and tourism to India. She congratulated formation of TICCI and said the name TICCI was very close to FICCI. Commending the great efforts of TICCI during recent past, she said: “We, in FICCI, must learn from TICCI.”
Dr. Suri informed FICCI has been working with Istanbul for promotion of trade and economic relations between two countries. She said FICCI has organized 14 business delegations to Turkey and she herself has led one of these delegations. She expressed hope India and Turkey, in future, will continue to explore the opportunities which can help the two countries. “We have common interests and I believe there are numerous opportunities for Indians travelling to Turkey and Turkish people travelling to India,” she said. She wished the new venture huge success and hoped they will continue to work together for a long time to come.
Mr. Alok B. Shriram, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry which was established in 1905 as a proactive and dynamic apex organization working at grass-root level and with international linkages, said PHD works for economic growth and development of nation through skilling India and contributes significantly through socio-economic development in several fields. Mr. Shriram passed his wishes to TICCI for opening the Delhi chapter and resolved PHD’s commitment towards promoting trade and economic relations between both countries in the years to come. He said PHD Chamber is committed to promote Prime Minister’s idea of ‘Make in India’ and inclusive growth for all.
Mr. Shriram said “PHD is representative of the industry through over 48,000 direct and indirect members. It has been a leading Indian chamber ever since it was established in 1905 and has mobilized interactions with over 60 worldwide chambers. Last year in 2014, PHD Chamber and Turkish Chamber signed a MoU. We will be exchanging visits of business delegations between two countries.” He talked of cultural similarities between two countries besides in art, costume and cuisine and said both countries are strategically located and can be of immense benefit to each other. “Past few years has seen great positive movement in enhancement of economic relationships between two countries,” he said but felt there is still huge scope as current trade does not even amount to 1% of the trade of two countries put together.
DS Rawat, Secretary-General Assocham said opening of TICCI office in Delhi was another feather in the cap of TICCI and Assocham and TICCI are looking forward to work together to enhance trade and commerce opportunities between two countries. Working since 1920, Assocham has in its fold more than 300 chambers and trade and trade associations and more than 4 lakh members from all over India. It has contributed significantly by playing a leading role in shaping up the trade, commerce and industrial environment of the country. Mr. Rawat said business with Turkey will serve as gateway for trade into Middle-East and also in the European mainland. He talked of engagement with Turkey in infrastructure, construction projects, defence, automobile industry, ship building, aviation and tourism. “Both countries have great history behind them and with their great diversity both countries should become favourite tourist destinations of people from the other country,” Rawat said. He also said India and Turkey are truly emerging markets and the MoU which Assocham has signed with TICCI shall be implemented in true spirit.
Kiran Mehra, Director, UN Information Centre in India wants UNIC to be interpreted as UN India Connect. Otherwise standing for United Nations Information Centre, UNIC was the first UN office to be opened in India in 1947. The Centre represents the UN Secretariat and its director is the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General.
Mrs. Mehra said the launch of Turkish India Chamber of Commerce and Industry is likely to bring together a powerful partnership between two great countries. She talked of the amazing experience she had at the Mediterranean Resorts of Turkey. She also talked of mystical motion of whirling dervishes, a dance form which was popularized by Sufi Saint Rumi. She said Sufi tradition has always been of tolerance and peace and for this UNESCO in 2007, celebrated the 800th birth anniversary of Rumi in collaboration of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. “India and Turkey have similar traditions and the launch of TICCI not only brings together the trade ties between two countries in commerce and industry but is sure to strengthen the ties of humanity,” she said.
Arya Samaj’s Swami Agnivesh talked of the great Sufi traditions of Turkey. He said Indians have a tradition of seeing divine in every human being. All humanity is one. He compared these lofty Indian traditions with the Sufi traditions of love and peace. He said Turkey represents a great civilization known for its educational and cultural endeavours. Rumi was a great asset to whole of humanity. He said at a time when there is so much of religious fundamentalism, the coming together of Turkey and India will be of great importance. He also said the most important thing that is common between the two countries is culture. He laid emphasis on need for more cultural exchanges but expressed satisfaction that the two countries are coming together in the field of trade and commerce. He also praised the tourism potential of Turkey and remembered his own experiences during his visit to Turkey.
Vijay Jolly, in-charge of Tripura state and secretary of BJP’s overseas affairs committee marvelled at the representation of FICCI, PHD and Assocham at the launch of TICCI and said it was no small occasion that these apex business chambers were present together. He said launch of TICCI was a great occasion for the two great countries. He said people to people diplomacy starts by trade and industry; by joining hands and through tourism. He talked of beautiful dances of Turkey, the great cultural ethos of Turkey and said that the need of the hour was to bring the two civilizations together and work on people to people level. He said he hope the two countries will use all their energies to channelize efforts in this direction.
Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Secretary of National Foundation for Communal Harmony and former Ambassador of India to several countries talked of his association with Turkey and the beauty and serenity of the country. He emphasised upon the high quality infrastructure that Turkey has built, be it road and rail connectivity, stadia, buildings, etc. He said this was one area in which there are great opportunities for two countries to share their experiences. He also talked of great tourism potential between the two countries. He said though there has been an increase of tourist flow between the two countries but the present number of tourist exchange is nothing in comparison to the immense potential. He also talked of the Sufi traditions of Turkey and said since it is supposed to be the century of Asia, Turkey and India shall stand together for enhancing cooperation in all fields.
Vice President of TICCI and Founder of TICCI Mehmet Ali Seker who organized the event thanked all the speakers and valuable guests for their presence. He hoped that this would serve as a base for great business and cultural relations between the two countries. He also thanked the apex chambers viz. FICCI, PHD and Assocham and their representatives, who all have signed MoUs with TICCI, and hoped of greater and stronger ties in future.