India, South Korea to strengthen ties

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India, South Korea to strengthen ties


October 6, 2005


By Indo-Asian News Service


New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) India and South Korea have resolved to take their bilateral relations to a "higher level" by substantially enhancing their ties in fields ranging from trade to culture.

Reflecting their mutual interest in keeping peace and stability, the two countries have signed an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance pact on criminal matters, besides an agreement to broaden economic and trade ties.

A joint statement issued at the end of the three-day state visit of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun here Wednesday said New Delhi and Seoul held talks on bilateral, international and regional issues in a friendly and cordial atmosphere.

Roh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met Tuesday, decided to establish a "Long-term Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity" to exploit their economic complementarities and political convergences to achieve peace in the region and the world.

Roh's visit coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries. The two sides noted with satisfaction the "steady development" in ties.

Agreeing to promote military exchanges, they decided to cooperate on matters concerning safety and security of international maritime traffic by coordinating their navies, coast guards and related agencies in anti-piracy, search and rescue operations.

In this context, it was decided to set up an India-South Korea Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue in 2005 to discuss regional and international security issues, bilateral, defence and service-to-service exchanges and counter terrorism.

The two sides also expressed support for the efforts of the international community for a peaceful resolution of the issues of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the statement said.

Roh, who arrived here Monday, is the first South Korean president to visit India in eight years.

The joint statement said the two sides agreed to set a target of $10 billion for bilateral trade by 2008 (as against just over $3 billion now).

South Korea is already the fifth largest investor in India with some 200 companies doing business here and bilateral trade while commercial ties have been growing rapidly.

Seoul and New Delhi have also agreed to launch a feasibility study for an agreement to substantially enhance bilateral trade and investment on a long-term basis, which will be conducted by a joint study group to be set up shortly.

New Delhi also promised to facilitate greater participation by South Korean companies in the development of infrastructure in India, including in highway construction and ports.

Both sides agreed to strengthen the India-Korea Joint Trade Committee and India-Korea Joint Committee on Investment Promotion - the two major channels of consultation in the fields of economy and trade.

Besides, they agreed to increase air and shipping links, besides cooperation in the fields like IT, oil and gas and textiles and in international for a like the UN and World Trade Organisation and ASEAN.

They also discussed cooperation in the field of space.

President Roh, who wound up his visit Wednesday, called on President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, while Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Congress president Sonia Gandhi called on the visiting leader.

Roh also addressed a joint business meeting organised by India's leading industry and chamber group - the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The president was an accompanied by an entourage that included at least 27 business leaders, notably Kang Shin-ho, chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, and Kim Jae-chul, chairman of the Korea International Trade Association, besides Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon.

India decided to host a 'Korea Week' in November 2004, which would be followed by an 'India Week' celebrations in South Korea in September-October 2005.

 

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