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Our New Southern Policy in sync with India's Act East policy, says S Korea envoy


ANI General News
South Korea's New Southern Policy is in sync with India's Act East Policy and a more robust strategic partnership can be achieved if the two countries are able to tap their full potential through these policies, South Korea's ambassador to India Shin Bongkil said here on Monday.
South Korea's "New Southern Policy'' focuses on South Korea's development of its relations with Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the envoy said at a conference on ''building a more robust India-Korea partnership".
"Korea now has a foreign policy which focuses especially on ASEAN and India. Now for Korea, India is as important a partner as its other four traditional partners. South Korea's Southern policy is in sync with India's Act East policy and if we are able to tap its potential, we would be able to build a much more robust partnership between the two countries," he stressed.
Speaking at the conference, Shin noted that "When India announced its much-celebrated Look East Policy, it remained confined to building trade and investment relations with ASEAN countries and didn't extend to Korea."
Shin, however, noted that now that phase of "historical neglect in our bilateral relations is over".
India and Korea have been special strategic partners since 2015. "To inject new dynamism in our relations", Shin said, President Moon Jae-in had paid a state visit to India in July 2018 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to South Korea in February this year.
In addition, South Korea's First Lady Kim also visited Ayodhya in November 2018, where she was the Chief Guest at the Deepotsav event organised by the state government. The envoy said that it was her first-ever stand-alone visit to any country.
He further said India and Korea are taking concrete steps to build bilateral relations.
"We are in discussion with NITI Aayog to institute a high-level economic dialogue with Korea's presidential committee to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries," he added.
Shin also noted that India is an important trading partner for Korea and the two countries have taken steps to strengthen cooperation in the areas of mutual interest, including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, big data, and space technology.
He said India and South Korea have set a target of bilateral trade of USD 50 billion by 2030 adding that multi-billion dollar deals have also been signed in the areas of defence, steel and nuclear power plants.
India also supports South Korea's efforts of keeping peace in the Korean peninsula, he stressed. Indo-Pacific approach is clearly articulated under Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), he added.
Keeping in view the growing ties between the two countries, the NCERT has devoted four-five pages in its textbooks on South Korea, he said.
He concluded by saying that India and South Korea are also discussing ways to support peace in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Suresh Reddy, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, said that it is the era of forging new relationships and alliances between the two sides and so the relationship with South Korea is very special to India.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 3:44 AM IST

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