As part of India’s ‘Act East Policy’, first India-South Korea 2+2 Dialogue will take place once the new government is formed as well as the new defence secretary takes over next month. Under this format, dialogue will take place between defence secretaries of the two countries.
Diplomatic sources confirmed to Financial Express online that, “The defence secretaries of the two countries were expected to meet in May under the first 2+2 Dialogue. However, the dates have to be re-worked as the present defence secretary Sanjay Mitra is retiring later this month.”
“Fresh dates will be worked out once the new the government takes office and there is a new defence secretary,” the source cited above said.
For South Korea, India is a major power and is its key partner in the region. And, for India, South Korea is considered as an important partner under the `Act East Policy’ and both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of President of Korea Moon Jae-in last July had agreed to start the 2+2 Dialogue format. South Korea becomes the third country to hold such a dialogue with India, after Japan and the United States.
The joint statement issued at the end of the visit had stated that there was a need to strengthen existing bilateral dialogue mechanisms, including the Joint Commission Meeting led by Foreign Ministers, the Vice Ministerial 2+2 dialogue, and the dialogue between the National Security Councils.
Defence companies from South Korea have been working with their local partners for manufacturing defence platforms under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s `Make in India’ initiative. The two countries 2015 inked an agreement to firm up bilateral cooperation in military shipbuilding. Inked under the umbrella of the special strategic partnership, each country has to nominate one shipyard each for this purpose.
Last November, Indian Army inducted the K9 Vajra 155mm/52 calibre guns imported from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea in Semi Knocked Down state and have been assembled by L&T in India.
As has been reported several big and small defence companies are keen on setting up their base in India for jointly manufacturing military platforms for the Indian Armed Forces. “In South Korea there is no law which curtails the Transfer of Technology (ToT), hence any Indian company tying up with a Korean company will get the latest technologies” said a source.
The country is also keen on cooperating with India to secure the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) in the Indian Ocean. And recently navies of the two countries participated in ADMM-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Busan, South Korea. Indian Naval Ships INS Kolkata and INS Shakti were on a three-day visit, as part of the deployment of the Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea last week.
What is ADMM-Plus?
A platform for ASEAN and eight Dialogue Partners which works towards strengthening security and Defence Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Development in the Region.
Ten ASEAN member countries and eight other Countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the US.