President Moon’s visit: India, South Korea to scale up economic, strategic ties

Amid ongoing realignments in the regional geopolitical landscape following the US-Pyongyang deal, India and South Korea are set to upscale their economic and strategic ties during the visit of President Moon Jae-in to New Delhi from July 8 to 11.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold wide-ranging talks with President Moon in New Delhi, which will focus on enhanced economic collaboration and a larger role by South Korean companies in the Make in India project of indigenising manufacturing.

“The two leaders will hold discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of shared interest with a view to further strengthen the Special Strategic Partnership between the two countries,” said India’s external affairs ministry in a statement.

Ahead of President Moon’s maiden visit to India, South Korea’s presidential Blue House glowingly described India as “a crucial partner for Seoul not only in terms of the economy, but regarding its plans for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula as well.”

“India is fast becoming a major power with the fastest growing economy in Asia. It is also a key nation for cooperation under the New Southern Policy that our government is actively pursuing,” a spokesman in President Moon’s office told a press briefing in Seoul.

“President Moon and Prime Minister Modi are expected to discuss ways to strengthen the countries’ special strategic partnership and to further expand their future-oriented cooperation,” the official added.

Mr Modi’s visit to South Korea in May 2015 raised the bar for India-South Korea partnership, with Seoul announcing a massive funding package of $10 billion by South Korean companies in a host of infrastructure projects in the Northeast Asian country.

The visit of President Moon to India will take place three weeks after the meeting between the leaders of the US and North Korea in Singapore, which has brightened prospects for denuclearisation of North Korea and peace in the Korean peninsula. India has welcomed the US-North Korea talks and termed it as a positive development. The inter-Korea reconciliation, according to experts, will open new opportunities for India to scale up its presence in the Northeast Asia region.