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India and Korea Travel and Tourism Ties Strengthen Further

Monday, September 17th, 2012

In the past year of 2011, South Korea and India have celebrated the year of ‘Korea in India’, and both nations are revisiting many of the ancient, historic cultural ties they have shared long ago. It is believed that it was a young Indi- an princess from Ayodhya who married a prince from Korea (Kim Suro), which led to the eventual first establishment of cultural, historic and finally economic ex- change between the two countries.

Eventually, with the arrival of Buddhist monks and preachers, a bit of Indian culture came to be engrained in Korean culture. Again, after centuries of intrepid trade, both countries experienced colo- nialism in the modern times: India under English rule and South Korea under Japa- nese rule. It is indeed a historical coinci- dence that both the countries were divid- ed on the same date of August 15th, into India and Pakistan, and North and South Korea.

In fact, Gimhae, the Korean city where the Indian princess traveled to and mar- ried Prince Kim Suro, is now accorded a sister-city relationship, with the Indian city of Faizabad-Ayodhya, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Today a monument sponsored by the city of Ayodhya’s administrations stands at Gimhae, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

In another MoU between Busan and Mumbai in 1977, mutual co-operation be- tween the two important and commercial capitals of the two countries was drawn up, as were similar MOUs between Pochen and Jaipur; Incheon and Kolkata. Tourism and travel between the two countries received a further boost with the first ever visit of an Indian President to South Korea, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, when the joint committee to draw up the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or CEPA, was formed. Under the new trade agreement, bilateral trade and commerce were given special focus. The CEPA also aimed to lower tariff barri- ers between both countries over the next ten years, penetrating into sectors such chemicals, garments, machinery, metals, and tourism and travel.

The cultural ties between India and South Korea were also strengthened admi- rably due to the historic visit of the India’s national poet and Nobel Laureate, Rabin- dranath Tagore. When in Korea he had penned the famous poem, ‘The Lamp of the East’, which went to become a source of hope for the Koreans who were subju- gated by Japanese imperialistic powers. The poem’s nationalistic fervor is quoted to this day.

In the golden age of Asia Korea was one of its lamp bearers, And that lamp is waiting To be lighted once again For the illumination of the East.

India and South Korea continue to forge stronger ties of co-operation and un- derstanding across several business sec- tors. Travel and tourism too are being em- phasized, considering the scope of travel between the two nations for delivering of services such as those related to informa- tion technology, and also for tertiary health care through ‘medical tourism’.

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