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Address by External Affairs Minister at Indian Community Reception in Seoul (28 December, 2014)

December 28, 2014

Padma Shri Dr. Kim Yang-shik,
Friends of India and fellow Indians,

I am absolutely delighted to see you all this evening. Thank you for taking the trouble of coming-over even on a Sunday.

It is my first visit to Korea. I have been reading and hearing about Korea’s rags to riches story and its great transformation, in the last 40 years. But as they say, seeing is believing! As friends of the great Korean people, we rejoice in your achievements and wish you every success for a glorious future, as was foreseen by Gurudeb Rabindranath Tagore.

I am happy to say that another transformation is taking place in India, in the political, economic and social spheres. As you know, the NDA Government assumed office under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an unprecedented mandate in May. Young and aspirational India voted across regional, religious and ethnic lines for a strong Government which could usher-in an era of rapid economic development. We are very fortunate that India is growing younger as the world is ageing.

It is an unprecedented demographic dividend that is accruing to our nation, but our challenge is to successfully harness it. Today some 10 million young Indians join the job market every year and it is essential to create the right economic environment, to achieve sustainable & harmonious growth, over the next few decades.

We are, therefore, committed to qualitatively expanding our industrial base, both to meet the growing domestic demand, export and also to generate employment. Earlier in September, the Prime Minister unveiled the ‘Make in India’ campaign. We want India to become one of the leading manufacturing hubs in the world.

We have the requisite capabilities and now also the will. Our entrepreneurs are amongst the best in the world. The national saving rate and capital generation is also high. At the same time, we need partnerships with friendly nations to bring-in technology and FDI. Fortunately, it is a mutually attractive win-win proposition, as India not only offers a huge & lucrative market, but within 15 years, will also be home to the largest middle-class in the world, of 600 million persons.

We are now preparing a blueprint to have 100 smart cities in the country in the coming years and to qualitatively upgrade India’s infrastructure. You must have read that a large number of infrastructure projects which were held up, have been activated.

A sense of purpose is being infused in the system by simplifying procedures, empowering the bureaucracy, introducing greater accountability and online decision making, as well as, doing away with archaic laws and regulations. In this respect, introduction of GST would be a huge and historic step forward.

I am happy to note that many leading nations have come forward to work with us including the USA, Singapore, France, Japan, Korea and China.

We regard Korea as one of the most valued partners. Korean companies are already household names in India. We would like them to scale up their presence in India. India – Korea relations are unique in that, we have no major divergences and only a similarity of outlook and challenges. We are committed to further strengthening political, security and people to people relations.

That is what brings me to Korea, as the head of an inter-Ministerial delegation for the 8th Joint Commission Meeting with my counterpart H.E. Foreign Minister of Korea. I would be calling upon the Korean President Madame Park and would be meeting with a number of Korean political and business leaders.

I was particularly looking forward to interacting with you all. Ambassador tells me that the Korean friends, some of who are present today, have been playing an exceptional role in enhancing bilateral exchanges and engagement. I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude as well as underline, that we in India, harbor the greatest goodwill and affection for Korea.

I also know that the Indian community in Korea is doing proud to the motherland. Thousands of Indian engineers are working with Korean companies and doing cutting edge research. I am indeed pleased that around 20 per cent of Samsung engineers are Indian. You are aware that similarly a large percentage of NASA, Microsoft, Intel engineers also hail from India. Wherever I travel, I get to hear that the Indian community has been making its mark with its diligence, assimilation and contributions towards nation building. I compliment you.

I call upon you to follow the developments back home even more closely. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call for Swachh Bharat and Swachh Vidyalayas, to build toilets especially for the girl child in schools. I invite you all to play a role in furthering this national mission.

Let me also take this opportunity of wishing you, your families and your dear ones a wonderful New Year. Keep your spirits high and stay warm!

Thank you.

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