Scale up the India-South Korea Bilateral Partnership
- In 2020, India and South Korea signed a Roadmap for Defense Industries Cooperation
- The pivot state is defined as having “military, economic or ideational strategic assets that are coveted by great powers place”.
- South Korea has drifted away from the US led multilateral security establishments such as QUAD or AUKUS etc.
- This is primarily due to its relationship with China, which is its largest trading partner.
India-South Korea relations
- Trade between the two countries was sluggish and there was no major inflow of South Korean investment into India.
- India and South Korea were also trying to upgrade their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) agreement, but to no avail.
- India has evolved excellent strategic partnerships with Japan, Vietnam and Australia. Unfortunately, so far, South Korea has not received the same level of attention from the Indian establishment.
- South Korea’s new willingness to become a global pivotal state and play an active role in regional affairs is bound to create multiple opportunities for a multi-dimensional India- Korea partnership.
- Both nations will now be in a better position to understand and accommodate the other’s trade investments and supply chain needs.
- The trade target of $50 billion by 2030, can be reached if both countries continue on the current trajectory of cooperation.
- Advanced defence technologies and modern combat systems can be the new domains for the next level of defence cooperation between the two countries.
- South Korea’s willingness to participate in the regional military exercises such as Malabar will increase the Indian Navy’s presence in the Asian coast of the Pacific Ocean.
- South Korea could be the fourth pillar in India’s Indo-Pacific strategy along with Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.
- Lessons on how a war-torn South Korea changed its fate by investing in education and the social sector can be of much use for India’s development needs.
- Can South Korea withstand the inevitable Chinese pressure and stick to its new alignment remains to be seen.
- The domestic politics in the US also remains a concern as many conservatives including the previous President Donald Trump remain unconvinced about the need to maintain such strong military ties with South Korea.
Source The Hindu