South Korean Foreign Minister arrives in India on April 7-8 visit
Marking 50 years of India- South Korea relations, Foreign Minister Park Jin arrived in New Delhi on Friday on his first official visit to the country.

“A warm welcome to FM Park Jin of the Republic of Korea on his first official visit to India. As India and South Korea celebrate 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, the visit will strengthen our Special Strategic Partnership,” Ministry of External Affairs’ Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in his tweet.

During his visit, the South Korean Foreign Minister held a meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar and called on Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar.

In his opening remarks during the bilateral meeting with the visiting South Korean Foreign Minister, EAM Jaishankar said, “I know this is your first visit to India as Foreign Minister, I hope there will be many more; and I certainly assure you this will be a very productive visit.”

In recent years, India and South Korea relations have become truly multidimensional, spurred by a significant convergence of interests, mutual goodwill, and high-level exchanges.

At the bilateral meeting, EAM S Jaishankar held wide-ranging talks with his South Korean counterpart Park Jin and discussed issues of bilateral interests. “I am really glad today to have the opportunity to take forward our special strategic partnership. This is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations,” Jaishankar said.

In his opening remarks, the South Korean Foreign Minister highlighted the commonalities between the two countries and their commitment to the Indo-Pacific. “We are both exemplary democracies, vibrant economies and cultural powers and we are both committed to contributing to a free, open, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Park Jin said.

“South Korea and India are natural partners and I have a strong belief that the special strategic partnership between our countries is the strongest partnership in the Indo-Pacific region,” the South Korean Foreign Minister said.

The South Korean Foreign Minister spoke in Hindi in his opening remarks during the meeting with EAM S Jaishankar. He expressed his gratitude towards India for giving him and his delegates a warm welcome. “Muje India aakar aur aapse milkar bahut kushi ho rahi hai. Aapke swagat ke liye bahut-bahut dhanyawad (I am very happy with my visit to India and thereafter, my meeting with you. Thanks for the warm welcome).”

Following the implementation of CEPA in 2010, India and South Korea enjoy strong economic relations. Bilateral trade in 2021 reached record level at US $23.7 billion despite a pandemic year.

Major items of India’s exports to Korea are mineral fuels/oil distillates (mainly naphtha), cereals, iron, and steel.

On the other hand, Korea’s main export items are automobile parts, telecommunication equipment, hot rolled iron products, petroleum refined products, base lubricating oils, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and parts and iron and steel products.

India and ROK launched an initiative ‘Korea Plus’, as proposed by Prime Minister Modi in June 2016 in India to promote and facilitate Korean Investments in India. A Korea India SME and Start-up Centre was launched in September 2019. According to data from Korea Exim Bank, ROK’s total FDI to India up to December 2021 stands at US$ 7.27 billion.

Investment from India to Korea is to the tune of approximately US$ 3 billion led by Tata Daewoo, Ssangyong and Novelis. In total, there are more than 603 large and small Korean firms operating in India.

Novelis, a Hindalco subsidiary, acquired a Korean aluminium company by investing about US$600 million (their total investment in South Korea is nearing US$2 billion now). Tata Motors acquired Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company for US$ 102 million in March 2004.

The State Bank of India opened a branch in Seoul on January 13, 2016 to provide a wide range of services including loan services and project financing for Korean and Indian companies.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK) comprising Indian and Korean companies play a constructive role in promoting trade and investments linkages between the two countries and assist the embassy in organising seminars and events on business promotions. ICCK’s total membership is around 70 members, which includes Novelis Asia, Deloitte Anjin and Kookmin Bank.