'Trade growth, economic exchanges vital for stronger India- S.Korea ties': PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that sustaining trade growth and expanding economic exchanges are vital for a stronger India-South Korea relationship.
Singh welcomed South Korean President Park Guen-hye, who is on a four-day state visit, and said that the talks today have laid out a road map for the expansion and enhancement of Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the coming years.
"Korean businesses were in the vanguard of the discovery of India unleashed by our structural reforms in the early 1990s. Today, as a result of further reforms, India offers greater avenues and opportunities for them," he said.
"We have been exploring the possibility of establishing a Korean Industrial Park in India," he added.
He said that the two sides have also have agreed to set up a CEOs Forum comprising captains of industry and commerce from both countries, in order to provide new ideas for deepening economic collaboration between the two countries.
Commenting on the multi-billion dollar POSCO steel project in Odisha, Singh said that the grant of mining concession for the project is also at an advanced stage of processing, and assured the visiting dignitary that this project will confirm that economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand.
He also noted that political and security cooperation between the two countries is expanding steadily, while asserting that two sides have decided to establish an annual interaction between the national security structures of both the countries, and have also agreed to launch a Cyber Affairs Dialogue between both Governments.
Singh further said that the two sides have recognized the possibility of defence trade and joint production by further promoting collaboration between the defence research organizations of both countries.
"The Agreement on Protection of Classified Military Information signed today will also boost our defence engagement," he said.
In the area of Science and Technology, Singh said that the collaboration between India and South Korea has been highly rewarding, with many practical projects being financed through the 10 million US dollar Joint Fund that was established in 2010.
"The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Joint Applied Research signed today will enable our scientists to work together and develop technologies for our common benefit," he said.
"We are also stepping up collaboration in the peaceful uses of space science and technology," he added.
He also said that the cultural centres set up in Seoul and New Delhi has energized people-to-people engagement between the two nations.
"Korean tourists are visiting India in increasing numbers. I conveyed to President Park the decision of the Government of India to extend a 'tourist visa on arrival facility' to nationals of the Republic of Korea," he said.
"We are also exploring the possibility of better civil aviation links,' he added.
Singh also said that they also discussed on regional issues, particularly developments in the Korean peninsula, and better cooperation in the East Asia Summit processes.
(Posted on 16-01-2014)