India, South Korea discuss maritime cooperation, defense issues

India, South Korea discuss maritime cooperation, defense issues

The Associated Press

Indian and South Korean defense ministers met in late March 2021 to discuss maritime cooperation as part of the Indo-Pacific strategy and also cooperation in the defense industry and future technologies, officials said.

India’s Defence Ministry said in a tweet that visiting South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook also inaugurated an Indo-Korean friendship park in New Delhi commemorating the contribution of Indian peacekeepers during the Korean War in the 1950s.

Indian media reported that the countries have been discussing military platforms and weapons, especially naval shipbuilding. South Korean companies want to build minesweepers domestically and to supply a self-propelled anti-aircraft defense system to the Indian military.

Raj Kumar, an Indian Defence Ministry official, said all major South Korean defense and shipbuilding companies are interested in India’s defense acquisition program.

He said India has increased foreign direct investment in its defense sector to 74% from 49%. “I would invite the Korean defense industry to take advantage of these investor-friendly initiatives.”

Suh told Indian business leaders that the countries agreed to scale up cooperation in commerce as well as the defense sector. “The government and companies are proactively looking at defense cooperation” he said.

The two countries have a logistics agreement that assists the Indian Navy while it’s operating in the Indo-Pacific region. (Pictured: Indian students wave Indian and South Korean flags as South Korean Coast Guard ship BADARO arrives in Chennai, India, for an exercise with the Indian Coast Guard.)

Suh ended his three-day visit in the city of Agra to meet personnel of India’s 60 Para Field Hospital, which provided medical aid to United Nations and South Korean personnel during the Korean War.