India-South Korea Relations

  • India and South Korea has launched a platform ‘Korea Plus’ to promote and facilitate Korean Investments in India.
Analysis of bilateral relations:
  • S. Korea wants to raise its relation with India to the level of four major powers i.e. US, Russia, China and Japan.
  • India also wants to align India’s Act East policy with Korea’s New Southern Policy but ties have drifted for lack of focus.
  • Trade, at $20 billion, is a fraction of the potential, given that India and South Korea are Asia’s third and fourth largest economies.
  • This figure has been a cause for worry, as the two countries had hit the $20-billion mark in 2011 after the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • The large trade deficit in South Korea’s favour has led India to be wary of further opening up.
  • In turn, Korean companies cite problems in doing business in India, despite a special “Korea Plus” desk set up by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2015.
  • Tourism between the two countries has always been low, and strategically both New Delhi and Seoul are preoccupied with tensions in their immediate neighbourhoods and ties with the big world powers than with each other. - India-South Korea Relations
Decisions in recent visit of Korean President:
  • Agreement to invoke the “early harvest” clause in the 2010 CEPA will allow both to do away with tariffs in 11 areas, benefiting Indian seafood exporters and food processing units, as well as South Korean petrochemical companies.
  • The inauguration of Samsung’s biggest mobile factory in Noida will bring investment and create jobs in India.
Strategic importance
  • India has asserted its place as a “stakeholder” in the Korean peace process, while South Korea has for the first time shown an interest in talking about an Indo-Pacific policy.
  • In the short term, a symbolic token towards shared interests will be seen in a joint “capacity-building” programme in Afghanistan.
  • At a time when U.S. foreign policy is capricious and unpredictable, and China’s is making purposeful moves towards global domination, it is important that the South Korea-India partnership grows and consolidates, to contribute to stability in the region.

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