Tuesday, March 27, 2012

India - Republic of Korea Joint Statement: Deepening the Strategic Partnership

1. The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an Official Visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), at the invitation of President Lee Myung-bak, on 25 March 2012. The Prime Minister of India, his spouse Shrimati Gursharan Kaur and the accompanying delegation were received with great warmth and accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Blue House. Prime Minister Singh held a restricted summit meeting with President Lee, followed by delegation level talks. Thereafter, a luncheon banquet was hosted by President Lee in honour of the visiting dignitary and his delegation.

2. During the summit meeting, Prime Minister Singh and President Lee conducted a thorough review of and hailed the multifaceted bilateral relationship, which has rapidly acquired greater depth and vitality since its elevation to a Strategic Partnership during the landmark State visit to India of President Lee in January 2010. They agreed that the State visit of President Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil to the Republic of Korea in July 2011, had imparted further momentum to the engagement and dialogue process between the two countries. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at regular high-level exchanges, steadily growing economic, trade, security and cultural ties, as well as robust people-to-people exchanges. They examined ways to further enhance ties, underscoring the mutual convergence of interests and outlook between these two democracies of Asia.

3. The two leaders also held wide-ranging discussions on regional, international and multilateral issues. It was noted that India – Republic of Korea relations were of mutual advantage and were conducive to peace, progress and stability in our respective regions, in the whole of Asia and even beyond.

Strengthening Political and Security Cooperation

4. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee, appreciating the role of the India-ROK Joint Commission (JCM) co-chaired by the Foreign Minister and External Affairs Minister of the two countries, reaffirmed that the Commission meet every year, alternately in Seoul and New Delhi. It was also decided that the seventh meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in New Delhi at the earliest date this year.

5. The two leaders shared the view that the Foreign Policy & Security Dialogue (FPSD) at the level of Vice Foreign Minister, MOFAT and Secretary (East), MEA was a useful instrument to exchange views and harmonize positions on a vast variety of bilateral, regional and international issues. It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the FPSD soon within this year in New Delhi.

6. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the strengthening bilateral cooperation in the areas of defense and security. Prime Minister Singh conveyed India’s decision to set up a defense wing at the Embassy of India, Seoul within this year, which was welcomed by President Lee.

7. The two sides exchanged views on the prevailing complex security situation and underlined the need to actively pursue consultations and cooperation in the field of maritime safety and security both bilaterally and in association with other countries of the region.

8. The ROK side recalled the timely and useful visit of Defense Minister A K Antony in September 2010, which provided an excellent opportunity for both sides to exchange views on the entire range of defense and security issues. It was agreed that the Defense Minister of ROK would pay a return visit to India later this year.

9. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee also agreed to continue high-level exchanges between the defense establishments of both sides, undertake activities as mutually agreed for deepening bilateral defense relations and to explore the possibilities of joint ventures in research & development and manufacture of military equipment, including through the transfer of technology and co-production. President Lee underscored that the ROK side wanted to increase cooperation with India in military and defense industry including, inter alia, naval ships, aircrafts, and ship-building.

Expanding Economic and Trade Cooperation

10. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee noted with satisfaction that bilateral trade had increased by around 70 percent in two years since the entry into force of the India - ROK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on 1 January, 2010, crossing the $ 20 billion mark in 2011. A Joint Committee has already been instituted at the level of Trade/Commerce Ministers to regularly review the working of CEPA and upgrade it as and when required. The first meeting of the Joint Committee had taken place in New Delhi on 20th January 2011. It was agreed to have the second Ministerial Committee meeting in Seoul this year.

11. The two leaders agreed to set a new bilateral trade target of US$ 40 billion by 2015. Prime Minister Singh underlined the desirability of balanced trade relations, which would facilitate a robust growth rate in the long term. It was agreed that both sides would explore constructive and forward looking ways to facilitate greater market access to each other’s products and services. Prime Minister Singh reiterated that the Indian side was hopeful of providing ROK with pharmaceutical and agricultural products, as well as, IT enabled services.

12. Prime Minister Singh apprised his host of India’s efforts to strengthen the national infrastructure and plans to invest $ 1 trillion in infrastructure development between 2012-17. Noting the enviable track record of Korean companies in successfully executing infrastructure projects all over the globe, Prime Minister Singh invited them to actively participate in the construction projects for highways, ports, airports, metros and power plants being regularly launched in India. Prime Minister Singh pointed out that India followed a transparent and competitive bidding process, which was open to qualified companies from all countries.

13. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee welcomed the growing presence and investments of Korean companies in India and those of Indian companies in ROK, which had been stimulated by the bilateral CEPA. They also agreed to explore new possibilities for joint investment in third countries. The two leaders also reaffirmed the importance of implementing the POSCO project in the State of Odisha.

14. The two leaders welcomed the steady growth in travel between the two countries, reflective of enhanced business and people to people exchanges. They agreed to increase mutual efforts to further improve air connectivity between the two countries. It was also agreed to hold the next round of civil aviation talks at an early date, to examine various proposals on the table, including the increase of the capacity entitlements for the air carriers of the two countries, in a constructive and forward-looking spirit.

Enhancing Science and Technology Cooperation

15. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee welcomed the upgrading of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology to the ministerial level as a foundation for common growth. They noted that the $ 10 million joint R&D fund is being actively utilized for joint research projects, human resources exchanges, workshops, and other science and technology cooperation programs.

16. Both leaders pledged to enhance cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space as envisaged in the MOU on cooperation between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The leaders noted that the technical experts from both sides met in Bangalore, India, in March 2011 and identified priority areas of cooperation. The Korean side welcomed India’s participation in the RoK’s international open bidding for launching Korean satellites. The two leaders proposed that the concerned agencies of both countries study the possible cooperation in future space activities including launching a nano-satellite developed by Korean students on an Indian launch vehicle.

17. Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement during the State visit of the President of India to ROK in July 2011. Recognizing the criticality of non-polluting nuclear energy in the economic development of countries, they agreed to discuss specific items of cooperation with the ongoing review of the safety and security aspects of operating nuclear plants. President Lee requested that the Indian Government allocate a site for Korean nuclear reactors.

Promoting Culture, Education and People-to-People Exchanges

18. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the successful organization of reciprocal year long cultural festivals in both countries during 2011. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee, decided that the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between ROK and India in 2013, be celebrated in a befitting manner. Both sides will consult each other in developing a suitable calendar of events. President Lee welcomed the opening of an Indian Cultural Centre in Seoul in July 2011 and conveyed that the Korean Cultural Centre would be operational in New Delhi in the course of the year. Prime Minister Singh noted that the initiative would help the Indian people become more interested in the rich Korean culture and tradition.

19. The two leaders welcomed the growing educational and academic exchanges between the two countries. They agreed to promote tie-ups and exchanges between educational institutions of the two countries, with a view to increasing student exchanges in various areas including language, information technology, and science.

20. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee expressed a strong desire to see greater parliamentary exchanges between the two countries, which are amongst the two most vibrant democracies in the world.

21. Recognizing the critical role of the media in informing and shaping public opinion in democratic nations, Prime Minister Singh and President Lee also welcomed the MOU on media exchanges, concluded in July 2011 in Seoul. It was noted that the two countries would exchange media delegation in the second half of this year. They also agreed to facilitate institutional tie ups between media organizations of both countries to promote further exchange of content and journalists.

Furthering Cooperation in the International Arena

22. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee exchanged views on the global economic and financial situation, which continues to be very difficult. They reiterated the pressing need for all countries and international financial institutions to work in tandem in order to overcome the crisis affecting each and every nation. They agreed to step up consultations including those in the G20 process to enhance transparency and cooperation in both regional and global economic structures.

23. The two leaders also recognized the need for comprehensive UN reforms including Security Council expansion to make the body even more representative and effective. Prime Minister Singh emphasized India’s aspirations for a greater role in the reformed UN Security Council. Both sides commended each other’s roles and constructive contributions in promoting global peace, security and prosperity.

24. The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in their respective regions, as well as the Gulf, West Asia and North Africa, expressing concern at a number of flashpoints that could endanger peace and security in Asia and beyond. They underlined their strong commitment to the peaceful settlement of issues, without resorting to force or the threat of use of force.

25. The two leaders shared their views on the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula including its denuclearization. Noting North Korea’s announcement made on March 16, 2012 that it plans to launch the so-called “application satellite”, they urged that nothing should be done which increases tensions in the region and violates the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

26. Prime Minister Singh and President Lee and expressed grave concern about the continued threat of terrorism and piracy, emanating from various quarters. The two leaders expressed the hope that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was under consideration at the UN, would be adopted soon. The two leaders pledged to enhance mutual cooperation including through information sharing.

27. The two leaders reiterated their common commitment to nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. They attached importance to the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in strengthening international efforts to address the challenge of nuclear terrorism. The Republic of Korea welcomed India’s intention for future membership and active participation in the multilateral export control regimes with the objective of strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.

28. The two leaders agreed to expand cooperation and coordination between their countries within the East Asia Summit (EAS), which they acknowledged should continue to remain an ASEAN-led, open, transparent and inclusive structure. They welcomed the inclusion of the United States and the Russian Federation in the EAS.

29. The two leaders welcomed the commencement of a Trilateral India-ROK-Japan dialogue amongst think-tanks of the three countries, the first of which will be held in Delhi in 2012.

30. Prime Minister Singh informed President Lee of the rapid progress in the establishment of the new Nalanda University as a symbol of excellence in learning in a resurgent Asia. President Lee stated that ROK welcomed the progress in re-establishing this premier educational institution and would examine possible ways to contribute.

31. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the following agreement and MOU :

(i) Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures

(ii) MOU on Cooperation between KNDA (Korea National Diplomatic Academy) and FSI (Foreign Service Institute)

32. The two leaders welcomed regular bilateral high level visits, which have become a hallmark of the relationship and observed that the Official visit of the Prime Minister of India to the Republic of Korea would contribute immeasurably to deepening and expanding the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

33. On behalf of the Government and the people of India, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed gratitude to President Mr. Lee Myung-bak and the friendly people of the Republic of Korea for the warm and gracious hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Singh extended a cordial invitation to the President of ROK to visit India at a mutually convenient time. The invitation was accepted with appreciation.

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