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India – South Korea bilateral relations

India – South Korea bilateral relations


India–South Korea relations refers to the bilateral relations between India and South Korea. Formal establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries occurred in 1973. Since then, several trade agreements have been reached such as Agreement on Trade Promotion and Economic and Technological Co- operation in 1974; Agreement on Co-operation in Science & Technology in 1976; Convention on Double Taxation Avoidance in 1985; and Bilateral Investment Promotion/ Protection Agreement in 1996.

Trade between the two nations has increased greatly, from $530 million during the fiscal year of 1992-1993, to US$10 billion during 2006-2007. It further increased to US$17.6 billion in the year 2013.

India-RoK relations have made great strides in recent years and have become truly multidimensional, spurred by a significant convergence of interests, mutual goodwill and high level exchanges. South Korea is currently the fifth largest source of investment in India. Korean companies such as LG and Samsung have established manufacturing and service facilities in India, and several Korean construction companies won grants for a portion of the many infrastructural building plans in India, such as the National Highways Development Project. Tata Motors’ purchase of Daewoo Commercial Vehicles at the cost of US$102 million highlights India’s investments in Korea, which consist mostly of subcontracting.

The Indian Community in Korea is estimated to a number of 8,000. Their composition includes business people, IT professionals, scientists, research fellows, students and workers. There are about 150 business people dealing mainly in textiles. Over 1,000 IT professionals and software engineers have recently come to Korea for work, including in large conglomerates such as Samsung and LG. There are about 500 scientists and post-doctoral research scholars in Korea.

Modern Relations

During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, South Korean businesses sought to increase access to the global markets, and began trade investments with India.

The India-Republic of Korea Joint Commission for bilateral co-operation was established in February 1996, which is chaired by the External Affairs Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Korean side. So far, six meetings of the Joint Commission have been held, with the last one being held in Seoul in June 2010. In an interview by the Times of India, former Korean President Roh Tae-woo voiced his opinion that co- operation between India’s software and Korea’s IT industries would bring successful outcomes. The two countries agreed to shift their focus to the revision of the visa policies between the two countries, expansion of trade, and establishment of free trade agreement to encourage further investment between the two countries.

There was a State Visit to Korea by Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in February 2006 that heralded a new vibrant phase in India-Korean relations. It led to the launch of a Joint Task Force to conclude a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was signed by Minister for Commerce and Industry Shri Anand Sharma at Seoul on August 7, 2009.

Korean President Lee paid a landmark visit to India, as Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations on 26 January 2010, when bilateral ties were raised to the level of Strategic Partnership.

An Indian Cultural Centre was established in ROK in April 2011 and the Festival of India in Korea was inaugurated by Dr. Karan Singh, President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations on 30 June 2011, to revitalise the cultural relations between the two countries.

Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil came on a State Visit to Korea from 24 to 27 July 2011, during which the Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement was signed.

In June 2012, India, a major importer of arms and military hardware planned eight warships from South Korea but the contract ended in cancellation.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to Seoul from 24 to 27 March 2012, pertaining to the Nuclear Security Summits, which led to the deepening of bilateral strategic partnership that was forged during President Lee Myung-bak’s State visit to India. An agreement on visa simplification was signed on 25 March 2012 in the presence of the two leaders at the Blue House. A Joint Statement was also issued during the PM’s visit.Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited India in 2014.

In July 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated Samsung Electronics’s smartphone assembly factory in Noida, the largest of such a factory in the world.

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