South Korean President Lee’s India Visit to Focus on Nuclear, IT Exchange


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Jun 29, 2009
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Lee?s India Visit to Focus on Nuclear, IT Exchange

President Lee Myung-bak's planned visit to India from Jan. 24 to 27 is expected to pave the way for closer bilateral cooperation in the development of nuclear and information technologies, officials here said Wednesday.

Lee may focus on ``sales diplomacy'' in India, holding active discussions with policymakers and businesspeople there to lay the groundwork for Korean firms to secure more opportunities.

According to sources, Lee and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may sign a pact on nuclear technology exchange for peaceful purposes at their summit slated for Monday in New Delhi, opening the way for Korean firms to participate in India's project to build nuclear reactors.

The accord doesn't guarantee any actual construction deals between the two countries, but it means India will allow Korean firms to participate in bidding for the plants, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

After signing a $20 billion deal to build four reactors in the United Arab Emirates last month, the administration announced a master plan to nurture the country's indigenous nuclear plant into a key export item like automobiles, semiconductors and ships. Reports said Turkey will follow suit soon to import nuclear reactors from Korea.

Lee's India visit also provides a crucial opportunity for the two nations to discuss ways to set the future course of action following the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the de-facto free trade accord that took effect in early January.

``There will be active exchange of opinions this time to promote Korea-India trade and cultural exchanges based on the CEPA,'' the presidential spokesman told The Korea Times.

``This means Korea can explore export markets in a fast-developing country with a population of 1.2 billion. Ties with India are crucial for our economic prosperity in the future.''

On the sidelines of the summit, Air Force officers will hold talks with their Indian counterparts to export KT-1 basic trainer. India is pushing for a project to replace its training aircraft in a bid to improve its defense capabilities and the Korean plane is a strong candidate. Korea has exported the KT-1s to Turkey and Indonesia.

The Indian government has also expressed keen interest in importing T-50 supersonic trainer jets, sources said.

President Lee will also ask for India's support for POSCO, the country's largest steelmaker, and other Korean firms seeking a deal to build a steel mill in southern India.

Upon arrival in the industrial city of Chennai Sunday, Lee will attend a business forum hosted by Korean businesses operating there.

He will move to New Delhi for a summit with Prime Minister Singh Monday and to meet with the country's political and business leaders. Lee plans to lecture on Korea-India economic ties at a university.

The next day, he will observe a parade marking Republic Day, India's largest national celebration, as ``Chief Guest'' and meet with Korean community leaders in the Indian capital.

On Jan. 27, he will depart for Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in the ski resort of Davos.


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
'It would be great to see Indian techies in South Korea'

Indrani Bagchi , 24 January 2010, 01:39am IST

South Korean president Lee Myung-bak is a man of action. As mayor of Seoul, he veritably transformed his country’s capital. Can he do the same for relations with India, Indrani Bagchi asked him on his first visit to the country as chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations. Excerpts from the interview:

How would you assess the Indo-Korean relationship today?

India has made rapid economic development and contributed to the global economy. I am certain India will continue to make steady progress by harnessing its great potential.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973, Indo-Korean relations have become stronger through vibrant exchanges in a wide range of fields, including foreign policy and security issues, economy and trade, science and technology, and education and culture. In particular, the two countries have witnessed remarkable progress in the economic sector.

Bilateral trade increased eight times in a decade from $2.1 billion in 1999 to $15.6 billion in 2008. In addition, many Korean companies have successfully established favourable images in India. We are also closely collaborating within the framework of the G-20 summit in an effort to address the global financial and economic crisis.

South Korea will be hosting the G-20 summit this year. What issues do you think will dominate the agenda?

The G-20 summit will focus on global post-crisis economic management. We will also discuss and follow-up on various policies that will ensure a strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy, following its recovery.

Other crucial topics expected to be on the agenda include how to carry out agreements reached in the previous G-20 summits. They include ways to accomplish a rebalancing of the global economy; reforms in the governance structure of international financial institutions such as a readjustment of the IMF quota; and supervision of large financial institutions.

South Korea is now a leader in “green growth”. Do you see India becoming a partner in this sector? If so, how?

India has abundant natural resources and outstanding human resources, so we can work closely together in the following areas: low-carbon technology, development of clean energy, including new renewable energy and nuclear energy; green transportation, including electric vehicles and railroads; and energy-efficient technologies, including electrical power grids and low-carbon industrial processes.

Economic ties are the bulwark of the Indo-Korean relationship. But surely there are other areas with potential for growth?

South Korea’s forte is in IT hardware manufacturing while India’s is in IT services. In this respect, it is possible to produce synergy in the IT area between the two countries. I look forward to seeing the joint participation of software companies from both countries in building an IT infrastructure in India.

Also, it would be great to see Indian software professionals working in South Korea’s manufacturing sector, and an enhanced collaboration in the area of Mobile-WiMAX, wireless broadband Internet technology. In addition, Korea has the know-how in constructing power and petrochemical plants as well as oil and gas plants.

The POSCO project in Orissa has been delayed, though efforts are being made to fast track it. What are your expectations from the Indian government?

The project will become an exemplary model of industrial cooperation that combines Korea’s know-how in the steel industry and capital with India’s resources and market. The Indian government should continue to show interest in and provide assistance for the remaining procedures, including the acquisition of mineral rights needed to secure raw materials.

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between South Korea and India took effect from January. How will it transform bilateral relations?

It is the first such agreement between South Korea and one of the BRIC countries. It is significant that the agreement will be able to serve as a bridge to bolster economic and trade relations between Northeast and Southwest Asia. India’s high-flying economic growth has prompted a surge in bilateral trade and investment between our two countries. I am certain that this trend will further expand with the inception of the CEPA.

What is the future of Indo-Korean relations?

South Korea and India, though geographically far apart, have shared close historic and emotional bonds. In a poem written when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, Rabindranath Tagore referred to South Korea as the “lamp of the East.”

It gave an enormous boost to the oppressed Koreans at that time. Since the 1970s, there have been active people-to-people exchanges involving workers from both our countries. Currently, there are about 9,000 Koreans staying in India with about 7,000 Indians living in South Korea.
'It would be great to see Indian techies in South Korea' - All That Matters - Sunday TOI - Home - The Times of India


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Jun 29, 2009
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Korea and India Established Strategic Partnership

Korea and India agreed upon to upgrade relations into strategic partnership in order to take leadership in IT age. That was the one step forward from long-term cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity established in 2004 to extend areas of cooperation into politics, economics and industry to go along in international stage.

President Lee, Myung-bak, on state visit to India now, had summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Hyderabad House on January to upgrade relations into strategic partnership and signed on Agreement containing 31 clauses in science, technology, IT, economy, trade and other areas. And they issued joint statement.

The two nations agreed on raising fund worth of US$10million for science technology joint research. Each will spend US$5million to push for joint researches and technologies including Robotics engineering, renewable energy, bio engineering, water resources and environment, IT engineering and others. For joint projects, they will hold selection process for research projects once a year and expert workshop for a certain area more than twice.

In space aviation area, KARI and ISRO will cooperate for space remote exploration, space communication, applications and navigation technology development. And they agreed to cooperation in lunar orbiter payloads and expert exchanges. But India hasn’t yet to be member of MTCR, so cooperation on launch vehicle will be made later.

The two nations will expand mutual investments and human exchanges in IT area. Korean companies will take part in e government project and form a joint team to come up with IT cooperation such as Wibro. They will negotiate for entering India nuclear power plant market.
Lee said, “Establishing strategic partnership with India with high potential is completion of new Asia diplomacy and will generate synergy from mutually complementary cooperation.”

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