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SOURCE: ANITA DESAI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

TAIS, which is a Turkish consortium founded by the owners of the top five leading shipyards of Turkey recently grabbed a tender worth $2.3-billion to build five fleet support tankers of 45,000-tonne ships for the Indian Navy with local shipyards in India. TAIS by de facto will be in charge of the program an even chip in with its design expertise and engineering services to support the development of these ships which will be built in India in state-owned shipyards.

According to previous tender documents which idrw.org had gone through in the past, 45,000-tonne fleet support tankers will need to house 190 sailors and 24 officers along with one multi-role helicopter and has capable of speeds “not less than 20 knots of maximum continuous speed. fleet support tankers usually move with other warships when in sea patrolling missions or part of Carrier strike group, this should have raised some eyebrows back home which clearly is missing in local media.

According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (T?M) data, with the export of $71 million Defence exports from Turkey to India in 2018, India was one of the countries at the top of the list and with recent orders worth $2.3-billion India will continue to remain among Top buyers of Turkish defense exports even though, Turkish military and its regime is quite close to arch-rival Pakistan.

The Turkish defense contractors have helped Pakistani Navy develop a 15,600-ton fleet tanker locally in Pakistan and have also closed Turkey’s single biggest order of 30 ATAK helicopters worth $1.5 billion. Pakistan is reportedly also interested in the co-developing with Turkey to co-produce a fifth-generation fighter, APCs and might even directly procure Altay main battle tank (MBT) to meet its defense modernization plans.

Same Countries and Defense contractors doing defense business with Pakistan and India at the same time is nothing new and India placing orders with Turkish defense firms could have been described as a strategic vision to diversify our military procurement and also to cut the cloud of Pakistani military and government in the Ankara, but will India have any leverage in Ankara ever due to official position taken by the dictatorial regime which is in power against India in past ?.

Turkey’s current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan time and again has raised Kashmir bogey in multiple Islamic forums and repeatedly has called for “multilateral dialogue to solve Kashmir dispute” in a blatant disregard for India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and even backed UN-monitored Plebiscite in Kashmir region which always has been official line of Pakistani military and Establishment for decades now.

Erdogan time and again has offered to be a mediator in the “Kashmir problem” and even Turkish Ambassadors to India have offered time and again unsolicited advice to their Indian counterparts with an offer of mediation between two countries on the matter of Kashmir.

While Turkish state is highly sensitive about anything that can be seen as supportive of claims for autonomy for the Kurds and for three decades the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been fighting a separatist struggle against the Turkish state has been branded as a terrorist group, India has never tried to exploit the week side of the Ankara and but also has been muted spectators on repeated attempts of Ankara to highlight “K” word multiple times and even backing Pakistani line at International stage.

Turkish State-owned TV channels like TRT World which was launched in 2015 and is seen as the propaganda arm of the current dictator Erdogan, has been highly critical of India and has done multiple reports on the Kashmir showing India in a bad light.

While Turkey wants to do and even expand its business with India which will sure mutually benefit both the countries, but repeated intrusion in India’s internal matters especially on Kashmir, and side with Pakistan in International forums, shouldn’t be tolerated nor be rewarded by Indian Government.

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