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As Far As the Potentials Go, It Will Be Huge.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Sunjoy Joshi is Chairman of the Observer Foundation (ORF), New Delhi and its Chief Executive. As a former member of the Indian Administrative Service he has had a long experience in development and economic policies of the government of India.
Recently he visited Korea to attend an international conference organised by the National Diplomatic Academy of Korea.
Here are the excerpts of the interview he had with Biz Tech Report while in Seoul.

1. Question: Welcome to Korea. What brings you to Korea this time?
Answer: We came here to attend an international conference hosted by the Korean National Diplomatic Academy on July 3, 2018. Conference was focused on President Moon Jae-in's new southern policy and his new initiatives on ASEAN countries and India.

2. Question: How do you see the international conference hosted by the National Diplomatic Academy on July 3, 2018 regarding the Korean government's new southern policy on ASEAN countries and India?

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Answer: All participants readily recognized the rise of ASEAN countries and India, and noted that the fluid situation of global politics made it all the more necessary to work together because of the changing security architectures of the world. We are living in the world which is very uncertain today. The North Atlantic Alliance had been the most prominent features of international politics following the end of World War II. Many would admit today that the Atlantic Consensus has broken down. While that does seem to be the case I do not think Trump is the reason for the breaking down of the Atlantic Consensus. Trump may be a symptom but he is far from being the cause. In my opinion the Atlantic Consensus had frayed well before Trump. It was frayed by two seminal events of the 21st century.
The First event was 9/11 and the consequential War on Terror launched by the coalition of the willing without any multilateral sanction. With the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11 multilateralism was laid to rest in the debris of the twin towers. The second event was the financial crisis of 2008 following which the Holy Grail of globalization and free trade and globalization began to be questioned in the very Atlantic capitals that had promoted these ideals in the first place.
The breakdown of the Atlantic consensus necessitates that Asian countries be prepared to take their destiny into their own hands and start conversations about their common concerns and goals. The most important factor for emerging countries is going to be to ensure economic development that leads to inclusive growth in the face of disruptive technologies that have accelerated the pace of transformation stupendously.

3. Question: What was your main message in the conference?A

Everyone is talking about Indo-Pacific. However, Indo-Pacific means different things to different countries around the world and must be seen in a context that is larger than the immediate tactical concerns of the main protagonists. The Atlantic perspective always segregated the South Asian and South East Asian parts of the world treating them as if they were two different universes. This, in spite of their centuries old linkages of culture and trade. Following their lead, strategic discourse tended to do the same. Not just governments and strategic commands, but even universities, academics, and think tanks tend to have separate South Asian and South East specialists. 

The Indo-Pacific does not end at the Bay of Bengal. It must be understood first in the context of its heterogeneous diversity and as a much larger construct. It must be seen as the bridge between the Pacific and the Atlantic that serves to integrate the land mass of Afro-Eurasia into one, and not three continents.
A rising Asia is correcting that anomaly in strategic thinking. Countries within the region and without have moved to this wider notion of the Indo-Pacific. Countries like Japan and Korea also are now thinking in terms of strategic role with like-minded nations in a much wider arena so as to enforce a rules based multi-lateral order.

4. Question: How do you see the Korean president Moon Jae-in's state visit to India?
Answer: The new world is emerging. This visit is extremely important and the eventually countries like Korea, India, Japan and Australia and the ASEAN nations all need to get together to establish a rules based architecture for all participants in the new world order. This must be understood in the context of my remarks about the breaking down of the Atlantic Consensus. We have to re-establish new multi-lateral norms. The South China Sea is not just for China and Indian Ocean is not just for Indians, and that have to be understood in the multilateral context. This rule based multilateral order has to be re-established.

5. Question: What are the pros and cons of India-Korea relationships?
Answer: I do not see any negatives in our partnership. India-Korea are not neighbours in geographical sense so there is no rivalry between them. There has been always trust between the two nations. That is a great commonality between the two countries. Do they have fears for each other? I do not think so. There are many possible win-win solutions that would work to our mutual benefit. What are the common impulses and complementarities that will propel both countries to move forward? The answer is simple. It is DDT, that is, development, demographics and technologies. India is a young nation and Korea is an aging nation. Both countries are at different stages in their development and demographic trajectories. Technology is set to bring massive transformations where the two countries will find many unique opportunities to complement each other.

6. Question: What is your suggestion to improve India-Korea economic cooperation? And what are the potential areas in your eyes?
Answer: I see huge potential. Technology is huge. Korea is leading technological development. It has the best project management capabilities s much needed in a country like India which is seeking partnerships to build its infrastructure – its ports, its roads, it’s railways its ship building capacities. The future will belong to those who invest in innovation and lead the 4th industrial revolutions. 


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Sunjoy Joshi with Dr. Lakhvinder Singh

How far are Korea and India willing to work together in these areas.Knowledge based and value added manufacturing industries are very strong in Korea. If Korea can do it, the success of Korea will spread to the ASEAN countries and India as well. This is a huge partnership opportunity. 

 7. Question: As we heard from the yesterday's seminar, there are only around 400 Korean students studying in India and this is very small number. As you know India has some good schools and universities. What can we do to improve India-Korea educational cooperation?

Answer: That is a good question. If you are looking at the future, the future belongs to the millennial. We need to build up. The millennials look at the world very differently. Their perceptions are very different from ours. They are much more trans-national generations than us. They think trans-nationally. Yes, the school exchange programs or educational exchange programs are very important for our two countries

  8.Question: How do you see the President Moon's new southern policy?

Answer: The new southern policy is the consequence of the large developments in the world that we have been discussing. They have made it as inevitable as India’s more pro-active Act East policies. The security construct of the Korean peninsula is itself changed. There is a new optimism. New hope for a fresh beginning. The new architecture probably leaves lesser room or need for extra-regional actors. Therefore the need for our countries to work together for a possible new trade, economy and security architecture.

9. Question: Are you happy with Modi’s on Korea policy?
Answer: Modi is very active on Korea. There are very strong reasons for this dynamic between India and Korea. Korea is looking at the south and India is not just looking at the east but seeking to act in that area for far wider economic integration. The security dynamics in the new world is also reinforcing this emerging relationship.

10. Question: When Modi came to Korea three years ago, he made a big promise on Korean companies make their products in India. But he failed to convince the Korean companies to come to India. No major investment has flown to India in recent years.
Answer: In stable democratic countries such as India Companies do not leave or go because of the presence of particular governments. Look at the numbers and statistics. Look at the trajectory of the Indian economy and you will find enough reason to invest.

11. Question: India Korea has some commonalities in the cultures. How do you think we can use the historical and cultural ties between the two countries to strengthen our partnership? How can we integrate the cultural and historical ties between the two?
Answer: I do not go much by the past. In today's modern world, we create our own context. Today's generations do not talk about Confucianism. The millenniums talk about BTS and EXO. That's how they relate to each other. A culture is something that is living in the rhythms and beats of daily life. It is in this living culture that we need to connect. Today’s millennial generation has rediscovered the strong connections through cultures, living cultures. See the popularity of K-Pop and K-drama. K-Pop and K-dramas are found through across the world, not just in Korea or Asia but through the world. Yes. The foundation of the cultural similarities is there but buildings up the new cultural exchanges are more important.

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Sanjay Joshi with Dr. Lakhvinder Singh and Ji Woo Chung.

12.Question: How do you see the relations between India-Korea in 20 years from now?
Answer: As far as the potentials go, it will be huge.

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