Centre should be wary of its defence deals

Centre should be wary of its defence deals

It is good to hear that India is all set to take punitive action against Anadolu Shipyard of Turkey which could end Turkey's defence related business with India.

It is good to hear that India is all set to take punitive action against Anadolu Shipyard of Turkey which could end Turkey's defence related business with India.

It is never wise to do business, that too defence business, with someone who is close to your enemy. That Turkey is hardening its stance against India vis a vis Pakistan is evident.

Not just in the external matters like FATF etc., Turkey has waded into India's internal matters such as Article 370 and has vociferously defended Pakistan. Malaysia too has joined hands with it recently at the insistence of China against Indian interests.

Against this backdrop, it is advisable that India keeps away from Turkey as far as possible. During the visit of Prime Minister Turgut Ozal to India in 1986, it was agreed that the two embassies will house Defence Attaché office.

During the visit of Prime Minister Vajpayee in September 2003, it was decided that Defence Ministers of both countries should remain in closer touch. India conveyed its willingness to expand military-to-military contacts, and mutual exchange of delegations to training facilities.

During the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan to India in November 2008, both the Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation between the two defence forces.

As far as the military exercises between India and Turkey is concerned, there has been a regular but a low profile passage exercises (PASSEX) between the Navies of the two countries.

The bilateral trade relations started its new phase and both sides emphasised the importance of developing bilateral cooperation programmes with the aim to enhance their commercial relations on a mutually beneficial and sustainable basis.

However, as the world's second-most populous country, India's progress in gaining importance in the global economy and international politics since the 1990s has led to Turkey's quest to develop a new strategy for South Asia.

Turkey has also begun to prioritise India in South Asian politics while preserving its traditionally good relations with Pakistan and Bangladesh. In recent years, the relations between the two countries have warmed due to common strategic goals, and there is a growing bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, technology and commerce.

More than 150 companies with Indian capital have registered businesses in Turkey in the form of joint-ventures, trade and representative offices. Anadolu is a different cup altogether.

It is meant to build the support fleet for the Indian Navy on behalf of the Hindustan Shipyard. How could such an important deal which easily gives away country's defence secrets to the contractor has been arrived at is a mystery.

Could the authorities be so blind and mechanical to ask Anadolu to take up the contract just because it is the lowest bidder without realising the consequences? Last week, Anadolu launched the first of four anti-submarine corvettes for the Pakistan Navy.

Centre should immediately review other such defence deals too immediately in the best interests of the country.

World is becoming increasingly self-serving and there is no place for old world values. Trim relations with outsiders to the extent needed. No more, no less.

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