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Visit of Indian Defence Minister to the Republic of Korea April 15-18 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Defense minister's visit

Indian defense paying homage at the Seoul National Cemetery

On the first day of his official visit to Seoul, Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar began the day at a solemn ceremony to pay homage to martyrs of Korea’s independence movement and the Korean War at the National Cemetery. He also recalled the role of the Indian Army in providing medical assistance andrepatriation of prisoners during the War.Later in the day, Defence Minister visited Korea’s ninth largest corporation, Hanwha. In its 63 year history,this firm has become a Korean leader in ordnance, fuzes, precision guided systems, sensors and aerospace.In the detailed site visit facilitated by Hanwha President Shim, RM invited Hanwha to participate in the Make in India programme, taking into account the enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial business.

Later in the evening, in Seoul, Shri Manohar Parrikar addressed an India-Korea Defence Industry Forumarranged by the Embassy in association with the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK). Senior representatives of 10 Indian defence firms interacted with senior representatives of the Korean DefenceAcquisition and Program Administration (DAPA), Korean Defence Industries Association, and over 15 leading Korean defence industries. Defence Minister highlighted that the defence industry in India would be likely to see $250 bn worth of business over the next decade as India modernized its defence systems and industries.After outlining the policy changes being brought forward by the Government of Prime Minister Modi to facilitate investment in the defence sector, Shri Manohar Parrikar said that the time had come for Korean defence firms to take advantage of the high brand value enjoyed by Korean-made produts in India, and to enter the defence market as partners for the long-term.

In the presentations, it was also noted that the ongoing internal process of further streamlining India’s defence procurement policies would be completed in less than three months. After presentations by Defence Minister and his delegation, detailed presentations were made regarding business opportunities for Korean defence firms by senior management of Indian defence firms including Goa Shipyards Ltd., Bharat Electronics Ltd., Mahindra Defence, L&T Ltd. and Tata Power SED. Finally, Shri Parrikar met the top management of Hyundai Heavy Industries and invited them to become strategic partners for India’s defence and commercial shipping sectors.

On 17 April, Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar, met Admiral Choi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;Minister Chang of the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA); National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin; before being received by Defence Minister Han Min-koo at a ceremonial reception at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Korea in Seoul. In all his meetings, the Defence Minister offered sincere condolences on the first anniversary of the Sewol ferry disaster in April 2014, in which over 300 lives were lost. Minister also paid tribute to the achievements of the Korean people in building a prosperous democracy, thereby realizing the prophetic words of Gurudev Tagore that Korea would be the “shining light of the East”.

During the meeting with Admiral Choi, the two sides discussed existing bilateral defence relations. Both sides recognized that the relationship was one in which there are no obstacles to realizing the significant potential for military to military ties. In the meeting with Minister Chang at DAPA, the two sides recognized that their shared perspectives on regional and international issues created a firm foundation for cooperation in defence production, research and development.

Shri Parrikar emphasized that in recognition of the importance India attaches to Korea as a partner, he had chosen to make ROK the destination for his first visit under the “Make in India” campaign. Both sides agreed to enhance their efforts to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships in defence production. At the meeting with NSA Kim, the two leaders discussed regional and global issues of peace and security. They also discussed ways of intensifying bilateral cooperation in security and defence and considered ways to enhance these ties in a manner more commensurate with close strategic partners. Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar and Defence Minister Han focussed in particular on ways of expanding contact between the defence establishments on both sides, and ways of building deep partnerships between Indian and Korean defence industries.

Later in the evening, Defence Minister Han hosted Shri Parrikar and his delegation to dinner.Defence Minister left for India On April 18, after a final round of one-to-one meetings with Korean defence industries, and an informal meeting with the Indian IIT alumni association in Korea.

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