Further underlying cooperation in defence technology and manufacture of defence equipment in India, the PM asked President Park to support the participation of Korean companies in the defence sector in India.

  • PM Narendra Modi with Korean President Park Geun-hye. PTI

Seven out of ten points in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s media statement after his meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at Seoul on Monday focus on the two countries’ defence and security cooperation. PM’s statements also heavily underline the push to the high-octane ‘Make in India’ drive in defence sector.

Even as the two countries agreed to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a “Special Strategic Partnership”, Modi announced the decisions to have regular cooperation between “our national security councils” and “expand cooperation between our armed forces”.

Further underlying cooperation in defence technology and manufacture of defence equipment in India, the PM asked President Park to support the participation of Korean companies in the defence sector in India.

This overwhelming focus on defence and security gets formalised with Modi’s visit to the East Asian nation exactly a month after India’s defence minister Manohar Parrikar visited Korea. Accompanying Parrikar in that visit was a powerhouse of 11 Indian business leaders representing eight domestic defence firms – both private and state-owned.

PM himself is meeting Korea’s business leaders on Tuesday.

Besides defence equipment, Korean investments have also been sought by India in areas like ship building.

Indian defence manufacturing firms like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), Larsen and Toubro, Tata Power SED, among others, have prospective business interests there into aerospace and military electronics. India is also keen on collaborating with South Korea on Indian navy’s requirement of minesweepers, army’s needs for new artillery guns and training aircraft.

Upbeat about PM’s Korea visit’s focus on defence, Dr A Didar Singh, secretary general of the industry body, FICCI, told dna that it will pave way for creating a feeling of mutual trust and cooperation in the area of defence and aerospace (D&A) business between India and South Korea.

“The joint exercises between the Indian and Korean armed forces would increase the understanding and acceptance of Korean D&A products by the Indian armed forces. This would create a wider opportunity for Indo-Korean co-developed and co-produced products getting not only inducted in Indian and Korean Armed forces but also jointly addressing the global markets,” Singh said.