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April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

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April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai

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Impact of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's recent visit to India

MBA Aspirants are expected to know the happenings around globe which might affect Indian foreign policy, thus impacting all of us.
Read: Impact of South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s recent visit to India
Recently, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the country’s first woman president, was in India on a four-day State visit, providing a valuable opportunity to New Delhi and Seoul to impart new dynamism to their bilateral relations.
One of the key impacts of this visit was seen even before the South Korean President arrived. Just few weeks ahead of Park’s visit, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests gave the go ahead for the setting up of steel plant by South Korean company POSCO.
The Odisha government too has managed to provide about 2700 acres of land. In 2005, the project was initially proposed to be set up in the coastal town of Jagatsinghpur (Odisha). Not much progress could be achieved due to several factors like environmental clearance, delay in land procurement and popular protest.
It was considered in 2005, to be the biggest FDI ever by a single company into India. But this project was delayed. Now that the project is approved, it shall give a lot of confidence to South Korean companies to invest in India which India urgently needs.
India’s Look East Policy in foreign relations has been one of the pillars for last two decades in its entire foreign policy strategic architecture. As a part of strengthening this, India is trying to deepen relations with South Korea which is one of the leading industrialized nations in Asia.
It is in the same league of Asian behemoths with China, Japan and India. It is also a member of G-20 group of industrialized countries which studies, reviews, and promotes high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.
Three key major focus areas were highlighted in the recent visit. They were stronger high level political cooperation, open economic and trade environment and deeper cultural understanding. To operationalize the above three areas, both countries agreed to set the following policy directions: strengthening bilateral strategic communication channels in the political and security field; consolidating the institutional framework for economic cooperation and creating more favorable conditions for further expansion of trade and investment; deepening mutual understanding by expanding cultural exchanges and people-to-people interactions and last but not the least, closely cooperating with each other as partners on the regional and international stages to address common challenges of mankind so as to usher in a new era of prosperity for the international community.
Both the countries signed nine pacts, including the Agreement on the Protection of Classified Military Information, the MoU on Joint applied research, the conclusion of negotiations for revision of the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, etc. Both sides are hoping that this would not only intensify the bilateral relationship but also open up new opportunities for engagement. Both the leaders agreed that sustaining trade growth and expanding economic exchanges are vital for a stronger India-South Korea relation.
During Park’s visit, the two countries announced the conclusion of negotiations for the revision of the present Double Taxation Avoidance Convention. They also agreed to establish a Joint Trade and Investment Promotion Committee at the cabinet level. The two sides also agreed to establish a CEOs Forum comprising of captains of the industry and commerce from both sides to provide new ideas for deepening bilateral economic ties.
They even explored the possibility of setting up a Korean Industrial Park in the state of Rajasthan. As South Korea is one of the few countries which have been able to maintain a trade surplus with China, India is hoping that the proposed park could provide a fillip to its industry suffering from slow growth in exports and subsequently help the industrial sector to get integrated in the global supply chain.
Isn’t it important in a world of globalization that Trade and investment cooperation between countries should be a priority during these high level visits? Isn’t this one of the key vehicles to deepen the relationship in the 21st century era of competitive diplomacy?
India has answered in affirmative to the above impending questions during South Korean President Visit. But the real question is, can India take this strategy further in dealing with other countries?
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