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Press Statement by External Affairs Minister after 9th India-Korea Joint Commission Meeting

December 19, 2018

Her Excellency Kang Kyung-wha, Foreign Minister of Republic of Korea,
Members of Korean and Indian delegations,
Friends from media,
and a very Good afternoon.

Friends, I am very happy to welcome Foreign Minister Kang to India. We have just concluded the 9th India-Korea Joint Commission Meeting. It is a useful mechanism for the two Foreign Ministers to periodically review the overall gamut of bilateral relations and suggest new ideas and direction for our engagement.

During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Republic of Korea in 2015, we had upgraded India-Korea relations to the level of Special Strategic Partnership. When President Moon Jae-in visited India in July this year, the two leaders unveiled their shared vision for our future partnership by emphasizing the three P’s: People, Peace and Prosperity. These three P’s remained at the centre of my discussions today with Foreign Minister Kang.

The visit of the First Lady of Korea, Madame Kim, to India last month to take part in the Deepotsav Festival and the ground-breaking ceremony for Queen Suriratna’s new memorial in Ayodhya, created new bridges connecting our two peoples. We expressed the hope that the recently unveiled "visa on arrival” facility in India for ROK citizens will further reinforce this connection.

Friends, I took this opportunity to thank the people of Korea for honouring our Prime Minister with the Seoul Peace Prize. This, we believe, is an expression of affection of the people of Korea for the people of India.

Friends, we also discussed possibilities for joint commemoration of the 150th birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi next year.

Foreign Minister Kang and I reviewed the follow up action on decisions taken during President Moon’s visit to India and explored some new possibilities. We noted a number of tangible progress made in the fields of defence, economic engagement, consular matters and other areas of our functional cooperation.

We expressed satisfaction over the growth in bilateral trade and investment over the past two years. We agreed to redouble our efforts to realise our leaders’ vision of raising the quantum of our bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by the year 2030. We shared the view that early conclusion of ongoing negotiations to upgrade our bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and implementation of trade facilitation measures already agreed upon will help us move towards this target.

We also explored new avenues of Korean investment in India’s infrastructure modernization. We encouraged Korean companies, known for their technological feats and global outlook, to create newer opportunities by partnering in Government of India’s flagship initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart City’.

We discussed potential cooperation in the energy sector. As two large energy consumers of Asia, closer consultations between us serve our mutual interest in securing predictable energy supplies at stable prices. From the Indian side, we also extended an invitation for ROK to join the International Solar Alliance.

Foreign Minister Kang and I also exchanged views on regional and global issues of common interest. I conveyed to Foreign Minister Kang that India sees ROK as an indispensable partner in its ‘Act East’ policy and in its vision of the Indo-Pacific.

We both acknowledged the complementary aspects of India’s Act East Policy and ROK’s New Southern Policy that creates a natural synergy for strengthening and creating new avenues for our cooperation, including in the wider region. We agreed on the importance of a free, open, peaceful and rules-based order as being essential for achieving our common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in our shared region and beyond.

I reiterated Government of India’s continued support to the efforts being made by President Moon to address the Korean nuclear issue and promote inter-Korean ties through dialogue and negotiation, and expressed our sincere hopes that these efforts will bear fruits to usher in a new era of peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.
Friends, we also shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge and resolved to combat it through coordinated regional and global efforts.
To conclude, I believe that our discussions today have laid a sound foundation for the sustained momentum of our Special Strategic Partnership. I look forward to continuing my close consultations with Foreign Minister Kang to this end.

Thank you.

New Delhi
December 19, 2018
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