On Board Air India One, March 28 Prime Minister Manmohan met his Canadian and Turkish counterparts on the sidelines of a nuclear safety conference in Seoul and discussed ramping up ties in the economic sector, an official said.
“We are working towards the visit by the Canadian prime minister maybe this year,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters on board the prime minister’s special aircraft on return from Seoul, where Manmohan Singh attended the March 26-27 Nuclear Security Summit and before that paid a two-day official visit to South Korea.
“There is a lot of focus on working together in the economic field,” Mathai said of Manmohan Singh’s meeting with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
“The Middle East worries them a lot. They are also conscious of the situation in Sri Lanka,” Mathai added.
On the meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mathai said he had expressed interest in a joint venture in the infrastructure sector.
“You are perhaps aware that a major Indian company is operating Istanbul airport. The Turkish side also said that in the infrastructure sector, they were the second biggest company in China,” the foreign secretary said.
Turkey also presented a “strong point of view” on Syria and held the present regime responsible for the large number of deaths in the year-long anti-government protest.
“Both leaders agreed on the need for UN engagement in Syria,” Mathai noted.
There was also a reference to Afghanistan “but it was not discussed in much detail”, he added.
Besides, Manmohan Singh also held structured meetings with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Monday.
Manmohan Singh also had a “less than pull-aside meeting Monday” and a meeting “in the nature of a pull-aside” with his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani in Seoul.