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India- South Korea Accord

South Korean President Moon-Jae-in’s first visit to India was significant in that it strengthens relations between the two countries. Moon had committed to do so in his presidential election campaign. Both countries are aware that the geographical importance of the Indo-Pacific region is increasing. Moon is at the moment vigorously pursuing a policy of reconciliation with North Korea with President Donald Trump of the US promoting it. China is increasing its assertiveness in the Pacific region which is to the detriment of the interest of India and South Korea. At the same time a US-China trade war has started throwing up new challenges in both diplomatic and economic fields. India and South Korea will do well to meet these challenges together. Moon’s visit has gone a long way in bringing about fulfillment of this objective. India offers a particularly predictable business environment to South Korea and promises to be the biggest export destination for Seoul. China has lost this advantage in view of South Korea antagonising it by deploying the US missile shield, THAAD.

South Korea offers partnership to India in manufacturing, hi-tech industries and infrastructure development. China has stopped being a low cost manufacturing and hi-tech hub for it. It is also accused of stealing technical knowhow from other countries. This has given India an edge over China in relations with South Korea. In the past, India had abandoned the POSCO steel project offered by South Korea which should have been this country’s largest FDI project. This time it should not miss any such opportunities.

On Monday Prime Minister Modi and Moon inaugurated Samsung’s largest mobile manufacturing factory in Noida, India which is envisaged to create over 1,000 more jobs. Samsung, the South Korean company had committed around Rs 5,000 crore of investment to add new capacity at the Noida plant, under the Uttar Pradesh government’s Mega Policy a year ago. This deal will not only make Samsung’s business relations with India strong, but also strengthen India’s ties with South Korea, Prime Minister Modi had said. The PM also said that with the help of South Korean technological expertise and India’s manufacturing power, the economies of the two countries will be empowered. The target is that of the total mobiles produced, 30 percent will be exported to other countries. This is a win- win situation for both countries.

 

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