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Cooperation has expanded, benefits are visible: Jaishankar hails India-South Korea ties

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar delivers address at Korea National Diplomatic Academy (Image Credit: YouTube/MinistryofExternalAffairs)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who is on a visit to South Korea said that ties between India and South Korea has expanded in different sectors and the benefits are visible to both nations. He said that India’s partnership with South Korea is acquiring “great salience” in a “more uncertain and volatile world.”

In his address at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy on ‘Broadening horizons: India-Korea Partnership in the Indo-Pacific’, Jaishankar stressed that it is time for two nations to introspect and strategise how the two countries could be doing more by making efforts differently.

Highlighting ties between the two countries, Jaishankar said, “Its a great pleasure to speak to you today about India’s partnership with Republic of Korea, one that is acquiring great salience in a more uncertain and volatile world. Our ties have been described as a special strategic partnership since 2015. This is not just a phrase but an assessment to which we have tried to live up to since then. In different domains, cooperation has expanded and benefits are visible. Yet, this is also a time to introspect and strategise how we could be doing more by doing differently.”

The external affairs minister recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to South Korea in 2015 and 2019. Terming trade as metric of judgement of ties between two nations, Jaishankar stressed that the bilateral trade has touched roughly around USD 25 billion.

“The frequency and intensity of contacts is one way of judging any relationship. In recent years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Yoon have met twice as I did with my previous counterpart. Many of you will be aware that Prime Minister Modi has infact been to Republic of Korea himself twice, once in 2015 and once in 2019,” Jaishankar said.

“Trade is another metric of judgement and this today between us is roughly around USD 25 billion plus minus level. Companies of both countries have made significant investments in the other. We note that your economic cooperation in development fund has committed to two significant infrastructure projects in India. The sovereign wealth fund KIC has opened its office in our country. Our defence cooperation recorded a success in the joint efforts of … and Larsen and Toubro and we each have a community in other countries about 15000 in our case and some what less in yours,” he said.

The foreign minister noted that the full picture of India-South Korea ties requires an understanding of its political dimensions. Calling both nations “democracies and market economies,” Jaishankar stated that the modern history of two nations holds some parallels and noted that India and South Korea have faced challenges like terrorism and WMD proliferation.

Jaishankar said, “A full picture of our ties also requires an understanding of its political dimensions. We are both democracies, market economies, and believers in the rule of law. Our modern history holds some parallels, and both of us have paid the price of events beyond our control.”

“In recent years, challenges like terrorism and WMD proliferation have impacted our national security. We have learnt to be sensitive to changing currents of the global order. While our solutions may be suited to our particular national circumstances, working together has always been to our common advantage,” he added.

Jaishankar, held a meeting with South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Ahn Dukgeun in Seoul. The two leaders held discussions on trade and economic cooperation between India and South Korea.

In a post on social media platform X, Jaishankar stated, “Pleased to meet with trade, industry and energy minister Ahn Dukgeun today in Seoul. Wide-ranging conversation on our trade and economic cooperation, both current and future, which is at the heart of the India-South Korea relationship.”

Jaishankar also met with think tank representatives of South Korea. Sharing insight about the meeting, Jaishankar in a post on X stated, “Interesting conversation with think tank representatives of RoK. Our exchanges and interaction would only increase as the convergences between our two countries grow.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar also met the Director of National Security Chang Ho-jin in Seoul. During the meeting, the two sides discussed shared convergences in the Indo-Pacific and contemporary regional and global issues.