Ahead of Modi’s visit, Indian defence minister visits Seoul

328029-parrikar1In a prelude to Prime Minister Modi’s impending visit to South Korea, India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived in Seoul on his first official visit to the country, where he is looking to expand the strategic partnership existing between the two Asian nations through defence and security cooperation.

This visit follows a commitment made last year to ‘expand’ Indo-Korean strategic ties and India opening a defence wing in at its South Korean embassy and appointing its first defence attaché there.

Mr Parrikar is accompanied by a high level delegation including Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur, senior Indian military officers, officials & representatives of the defence industry. He will co-chair the defence ministerial meeting with his South Korean counterpart General Han Min-Koo and meet the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Choi Yun-hee, Minister Chang Myoung-Jin of the South Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration and National Security Adviser, Kim Kwan-Jin.

His visit comes amidst India’s decision to scrap an old deal for purchasing South Korean mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), used for detecting and destroying enemy mines, and drawing up fresh plans for purchase of 12 MCMVs, worth $320 billion, which will be built by Goa Shipyard Ltd- in line with indigenizing defence production, part of Mr. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ pitch.

Security cooperation amongst the two nations is set to grow given that India is one among the five countries with which South Korea has a security dialogue, the other four being the US, China, Japan and Russia.

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