TURKEY has expressed desire to further increase cooperation with Pakistan at defence level with focus on increasing contacts, training and joint exercises. Turkish desire was conveyed when Chief of the General Staff of the Turkey Gen Hulusi Akar called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad on Thursday. The Prime Minister reciprocated the sentiments expressed by Turkish General for cooperation in defence.
With the passage of time, Turkey has emerged as a reliable development partner of Pakistan, extending valuable assistance in modernising different sectors and overcoming some of the pressing problems of the country including energy, waste management and transportation. The two countries are closely interacting in different spheres of life but luckily there is realisation on both sides that the potential for economic cooperation and integration has not yet been fully tapped despite similar economic structures and efforts of entrepreneurs of the two countries. Strengthening of logistics connectivity between the two countries and further to Eurasia will bring a strong impetus to the integration between the two countries. Efforts should be made to increase transport connectivity by all means. Flights have been increased but need to be increased even further. Volume of trade between the two countries is also not commensurate with the warmth in political ties and greater interaction between the business community of the two countries and opening of trade centres could help improve the situation. Similarly, there is great potential of Turkish investment in tourism, information technology, food processing, agro-based products, dairy development, hotel industry and resorts development. Turkish textile companies with their developed technical capabilities and investment capacity were also encouraged to explore this sector for joint ventures. As for defence cooperation, it should not be restricted to mere training and exchange of delegation. There is much scope for initiating joint ventures in defence production which will help minimise dependence on others in the fast changing global scenario and also brighten prospects for exports.