Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a dialogue to discuss the Kashmir issue, saying Pakistan and India must settle the dispute "once and for all", Radio Pakistan reported Sunday.

Erdogan's statement comes as the president begins a two-day visit to India. The president is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, India Today reported.

The Turkish premier will hold talks with Modi on key bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

He urged both the countries to settle the dispute via negotiations, said the Turkish president in an interview in Ankara.

He also rejected any similarities between Kurdish rebels and Kashmiris.

To a question about Turkey's move to block New Delhi’s admission to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said Ankara has always been supportive of India’s entry into the group and also that of Pakistan in a similar way.

The two leaders are expected to discuss India's NSG membership bid and methods to further strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade. Turkey is a member of the NSG.

Tense relations

Tensions simmered between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue since the last months of 2016. Exchanges of fire have been reported sporadically since the new year began.

Following the Uri army base attack in September 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.

In the days following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border 'surgical strike' against 'launch pads of terror' in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world's attention away from 'atrocities' committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

The two countries have locked horns over the Kashmir issue after Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.