Author: Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES Bank and Chairman, YES Global Institute
This article appeared in the Hindustan Times, July 19, 2018
The Republic of Korea is a fascinating story of dramatic transformation – from a predominantly agricultural economy to one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. The maiden State visit of President Moon Jae-in to India will add significant momentum to the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between India and South Korea, upgraded during PM Modi’s visit to South Korea in 2015. While India can certainly benefit from Korean investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and advanced technology, India’s 1.3 billion strong market, strategic location and vibrant demographics present an ocean of opportunities for South Korea.
Relations between India and South Korea have made significant strides in recent years, with Korea committing to elevate its relations with India to the same level as its four traditional partners – China, Japan, Russia and the US – under the ‘New Asia Community Plus’ framework. With gradual change in regional dynamics expected after the landmark meeting between the US and North Korean leaders, the India – South Korea relationship assumes even greater significance. South Korea’s ‘New Southern policy’ perfectly complements the Government of India’s ‘Act East Policy’.
Trade and investment ties between India and South Korea witnessed a major boost after the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in 2010. Several large South Korean companies have set up offices in India and made significant investments. Samsung, Hyundai and LG have pioneered ‘Make in India’ and are household names. The agreement for a US$10 billion assistance by South Korea for high priority infrastructure projects in India makes South Korea one of the first nations outside the G-7 to grant Official Development Assistance and will go a long way in cementing ties between our two nations.
Upgrading comprehensive partnership agreement will further boost investment and trade between the two nations and enhance cooperation in technology, cyber security, tourism and culture.
All of these were mentioned in the declaration after the recent visit by the South Korean President. Agencies such as Korea Plus, launched as an outcome of PM Modi’s visit to South Korea in 2015, can play a key role in facilitating greater cooperation in this area.
The bilateral relationship between South Korea and India is already at an all-time high. I am confident that this visit by President Moon Jae-in will mark the beginning of a new chapter in this highly strategic relationship, which is emerging as one of immense significance in the future global security and economic order.
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