GoI didn’t want Erdogan to visit Delhi’s Jama Masjid, meet Shahi Imam: Report

Narendra Modi with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

New Delhi: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to visit Jama Masjid on his tour of Delhi for the G20 summit. However, Indian government didn’t want them to visit New Delhi as it would entail a meeting with Shahi Imam and thus media coverage, reports said.

According to a report by The Indian Express, Jama Masjid fountains may have been lit up for G20 and landmarks illuminated, but the Indian government did not want the heads of government to visit this part of old Delhi as it would entail a meeting with the masjid’s Shahi Imam.

G20 leaders, on the other hand, perhaps wanted to please their Islamic constituents back home with photographs with the Imam.

“Only junior members of certain countries’ delegations got to meet the Imam,” the newspaper reported quoting mosque sources.

On September 11, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Erdogan discussed the potential for bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, defence and security at a bilateral meeting on the margins of the G20 Summit.

Erdogan described India as Turkey’s “greatest trade partner in South Asia” while addressing the media after the meeting. “We have great potential to deepen our partnership in the sphere of economy and other sectors,” he said.

The two leaders focused on the potential for cooperation in trade, investment, defence, security, civil aviation and shipping, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

Erdogan congratulated Modi on the country’s G20 presidency and thanked India for the prompt relief provided under Operation Dost after an earthquake struck Turkey in February. India had rushed emergency relief supplies and medical and rescue teams to Turkey within hours of the quake.

He also congratulated Modi on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon and conveyed best wishes for the Aditya mission to the sun, the external affairs ministry said.

New Delhi and Ankara have had strained relations over the years, mainly because of Turkey’s support to Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute at global forums such as the UN and the OIC. However, trade relations and people-to-people contacts have grown in recent years.

Responding to a question at the news conference, Erdogan said Turkey would be “proud” if a country such as India becomes a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, but added that all non-P5 members should have an opportunity to become members of the Security Council by rotation.

Referring to the P5 or five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US, Erdogan said the “world is bigger and larger than five”.

“We would be proud if a country like India became a permanent member of the UN Security Council. As you know, the world is bigger and larger than five…what we mean is that it’s not only about the US, UK, France, China and Russia. We don’t want to have just these five countries in the Security Council,” he Turkey president said.

While the Security Council now has five permanent and 10 non-permanent members drawn from different regions, Erdogan proposed a mechanism whereby all 195 member countries can potentially become a member of the UN’s top decision-making body.

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