India and South Korea agree to upgrade relationship to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’
Seoul: “Korea’s rapid progress has made the vision of an Asian century stronger and it will be based not only on the strength of Korea’s economy, but also its contribution to peace and stability in the region.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this at a Press Briefing with President of Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye today. He said, We consider Korea a crucial partner in India’s economic modernization, the Prime Minister said. Drawing attention to India’s special focus on infrastructure and developing a world class manufacturing sector, Modi said Korea can be a leading partner in this enterprise.
Modi said that he was visiting South Korea at a time of renewed momentum in the Indian economy. We are pursuing a comprehensive programme of economic modernization that covers all sectors of our economy and all aspects of policies and procedures, he pointed out.
Korea is a strong pillar of democracy in Asia, the Prime Minister said adding: “Our relationship started with a strong economic emphasis. But, it has also now become strategic in content and the need for closer engagement between countries with shared values and vision has never been stronger.”
Modi said he was pleased as both India and Republic of Korea have agreed to upgrade the bilateral relationship to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’. Republic of Korea is the second country with which India will have a diplomatic and security dialogue in 2+2 format, the Prime Minister emphasised.
Both countries have decided to have regular cooperation between their national security councils and also agreed to expand cooperation between their armed forces. Defence manufacturing sector offers huge opportunities in India, Modi projected saying “We intend to deepen our cooperation in defence technology and manufacture of defence equipment in India.” Besides defence equipment, Modi said he has invited Korean investments in areas like ship building, including LNG tankers.
The prime Minister told media-persons that he has requested President Park to support the participation of Korean companies in the defence sector in India and her response was positive.
Many Korean brands are household names in India, Modi said adding both he and President Park see vast opportunities for Korean companies to participate in the ‘Make in India’ Mission.
Modi will meet Korea’s business leaders and will visit a shipyard in Ulsan.
Modi announced that India will establish a channel – Korea Plus – to facilitate their investment and operations in India.
Modi said that he shared the view with President Park that trade between India and republic of Korea is modest and well below its potential and both agreed to review the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and other market access related issues.
The Indian Prime Minister welcomed Korea’s diplomatic efforts to maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. He also shared her concerns that proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction will not be in the interest of countries of the region. I offered India’s support to Korean people for peaceful re-unification of Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders discussed engagement in the East Asia Summit and with ASEAN. they also shared interest in an open, balanced and inclusive regional architecture. They held common views on maritime security in the region and agreed to work together and with other countries in the region to ensure the freedom of navigation and safety and security of sea lanes of communication. Challenges of cyber security and terrorism are also areas of common interest.