Indian PM Modi meets Armenian and Cypriot leaders following Erdoğan’s pro-Pakistan speech
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two separate meetings with President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia during the 74th United Nations General Assembly this week, India’s Swarajya magazine reported.
The meetings came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pro-Pakistan speech on the Kashmir row between India and Pakistan.
Erdoğan said on Tuesday that the stability and prosperity of South Asia was inseparable from the Kashmir issue, and that “it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision,” as quoted by Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.
Following a meeting with Erdoğan at the assembly, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said, "We are very thankful that the president has taken a very principled stance.”
Modi on Thursday and Friday announced meetings with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, stressing cooperation and links between their respective countries.
Held extensive deliberations with PM @NikolPashinyan. We talked about expanding India-Armenia cooperation in aspects relating to technology, pharmaceuticals and agro-based industries. PM Pashinyan also referred to the popularity of Indian movies, music and Yoga in Armenia. pic.twitter.com/CJ5By5ROXA— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 26, 2019
Had a productive meeting with President @AnastasiadesCY. We discussed the full gamut of issues pertaining to India-Cyprus friendship. This includes boosting commercial, cultural and technological linkages. pic.twitter.com/CcwaXM4MpJ— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 26, 2019
Modi’s meetings with two neighbours of Turkey that have had long-standing issues with the country may be interpreted as a hint on how India may respond if Turkey continues with its pro-Pakistan stance, Swarajya said.
Armenia maintains that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire from 1915 occurred as a result of exile policies implemented by the Committee of Union and Progress government of the time, and thus constitute genocide. Turkey accepts that massacres took place, but vehemently denies allegations of genocide.
Following a coup backed by Greece, Turkey invaded the northern third of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 1974, and has been the main backer of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only formally recognised by Turkey. Efforts to resolve the issue with involvement by the UN and European Union have failed in the past.
“The statement made by Erdoğan at the UNGA has surely cast a shadow on the bilateral relationship between India and Turkey,” India’s The Print quoted India’s former ambassador to Turkey Melkulangara K. Bhadrakumar as saying.
“But this is also true that Turkey has been rhetorical on Kashmir,” he added. “We have become very one-dimensional since Turkey enjoys a friendly relationship with Pakistan. We are not engaging with them at all.”