Act East Policy: Rajnath Singh to visit South Korea next month

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August 19, 2019 6:34 PM

A top diplomat said the companies from South Korea are keen to get into joint ventures and are willing to transfer all the top end technologies as there is no law in that country which curtails technology transfer.

In maritime security, that country is also keen on cooperating with India to secure the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) in the Indian Ocean.

In line with the government’s `Act East Policy’ defence minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit South Korea next month where the focus will be to encourage defence industries of both sides to intensify cooperation.

High placed sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online, that “the visit is scheduled for September, though dates have not been firmed yet.”

While South Korea considers India as a major power as well as its key partner in the region, India, South Korea is considered as an important partner under the `Act East Policy’.

In 2018, during the visit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in the two countries agreed to boost defence ties through more military exercises and training. Besides holding joint military exercises, New Delhi is keen to attract South Korean defence companies to invest in India and to participate in research and development projects which would be mutually beneficial to both sides.

Several big and small defence companies of South Korea are keen on setting up their manufacturing base in India under Make in India initiative, especially in the two Defence Industrial Corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, for jointly manufacturing military platforms for the Indian Armed Forces. Under the umbrella of the special strategic partnership, in 2015, the two countries have inked an agreement for firming up bilateral cooperation in military shipbuilding.

A top diplomat said the companies from South Korea are keen to get into joint ventures and are willing to transfer all the top end technologies as there is no law in that country which curtails technology transfer.

In maritime security, that country is also keen on cooperating with India to secure the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) in the Indian Ocean.

The two countries have also set a date for the first India-South Korea 2+2 Dialogue, which was put on hold due to the General Elections in India and the appoint of a new defence secretary. The first such dialogue will be between the defence secretaries of both countries. For India, South Korea becomes the third country to hold such a dialogue, after the United States and Japan.

The Indian Army has inducted in service the K9 Vajra 155mm/52 calibre guns which came from Semi Knocked down (SKD) state from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea and were assembled by L&T in India.

Earlier this year, a dozen South Korean companies including Hanwha Defense, Hyundai Rotem, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., LIG Nex1, DACC Carbon Company were in New Delhi seeking joint ventures in weapon system Indian forces are interested in.

As has been reported earlier, Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) maker of the trainee aircraft ‘KT-1’ has offered its Utility Helicopter to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and has offered to work with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Also, some of the companies are looking for opportunities in shipbuilding and port infrastructure in India.

South Korea is also keen on collaborating with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

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