Indian PM Modi in South Korea for economic deals
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
After visiting China and Mongolia as part of his 3 nation tour, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Seoul, South Korea on 18 May as first leg of his latest diplomatic sojourn. His discussions with the South Korean leadership will be focused on boosting economic and trade cooperation.
Modi arrived earlier in the day from Mongolia on a two-day visit to South Korea. Like China, South Korea, a close ally of USA, is also impotent for India for economic and political reasons. South Korea, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Japan, is also a strong contender for a veto on UN.
Before he begins talks with the South Korean President, PM Modi addressed a reception hosted by the Indian community, expected to be attended by about 1,500 people. Indian Prime Minister said in his address to the Indian community in Seoul that the world’s perception of India has changed in the past one year. “Today people are excited to come to India. This is the mood that has changed. And after all, the people make the Nation… India is being seen as the fastest growing economy of the world,” he said. Modi arrived in Seoul on Monday morning, in the last leg of his three-nation visit that also took him to China and Mongolia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Seoul National Cemetery. Considerable significance is being attached in New Delhi to the first state visit to be exchanged between India and South Korea since PM Modi took office in May last year. PM Modi will hold talks with President Park Geun-hye on bilateral, regional and global issues and will explore ways to upgrade ties in diversified areas. A number of agreements are expected to be signed.
PM Modi will pitch for Korean investment in India when he addresses the India-Republic of Korea CEOs Forum, which could also be attended by his host Ms Park. Bilateral trade is about USD 16 billion and the two sides are keen to see that it goes up substantially. There are 300 Korean companies which have invested about USD 3 billion in India. They employ about 40,000 workers in India. India’s investment in South Korea is close to USD two billion and Indian companies are looking forward to greater access in that country to pharmaceutical and IT products. The Prime Minister will also meet the heads of several Korean companies that want to invest in India or have already invested. He will visit the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard, with shipbuilding emerging as an important area of cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister flew into Seoul from Mongolia, where he announced a credit line of $1 billion to that country to expand its economic capacity and infrastructure. India and Mongolia decided to upgrade their relationship from Comprehensive to “Strategic Partnership”. PM Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia.
Korean President Park will host a banquet in honour of the Indian prime minister in the evening.