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India, S Korea ink 9 pacts; Posco plant work to start soon

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pose for photos before their meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi

In a bid to give new momentum to bilateral ties, India and South Korea today decided to intensify cooperation in a range of key sectors including trade

 South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pose for photos before their meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pose for photos before their meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi

New Delhi: In a bid to give new momentum to bilateral ties, India and South Korea today decided to intensify cooperation in a range of key sectors including trade, investment and defence even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the work on the long-delayed Posco steel plant will start in coming weeks.

Nine pacts in wide-ranging fields including cyber space cooperation were inked after the talks between Singh and South Korean President Park Geun-hye during which both leaders discussed ways to promote bilateral relations and exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues.

After the talks, Singh said negotiations for revision of the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention have concluded.

“We have just concluded wide-ranging discussion on matters of bilateral interest and regional and global importance. This has enabled us to impart further substance, greater content and new momentum to the Strategic Partnership between our two countries,” Singh said at a joint media event with Park.

He said both the leaders have decided to establish an annual interaction between the “national security structures” of the two countries besides agreeing to launch a Cyber Affairs Dialogue.

“I am happy that the large-scale POSCO steel project in Odisha is set to be operational in the coming weeks, following the revalidation of its environmental clearance. Grant of mining concession for the project is also at an advanced stage of processing. I conveyed to President Park our hope that this project will confirm that economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand,” Singh said.

During the talks, both the sides recognised the possibility of defence trade and joint production of military equipment by further promoting collaboration between our defence research organisations.

The Prime Minister hoped that the agreement on protection of classified military information signed will also boost defence engagement between the two countries.

“In the area of Science and Technology, our collaboration has been highly rewarding, with many practical projects being financed through the 10 million US dollar Joint Fund that we established in 2010,” the Prime Minister said.

On the MoU on Joint Applied Research, which was inked after the Summit-level talks, Singh said it will enable the scientists of the two countries to work together and develop technologies for our common benefit.

“We are also stepping up collaboration in the peaceful uses of space science and technology,” he said.

The Prime Minister said India has also decided to extend ‘tourist visa on arrival facility’ to South Korean people to increase people-to-people contacts and was also exploring the possibility of better civil aviation links.

Both the leaders also deliberated on regional issues, particularly developments in the Korean peninsula.

“The visit of President Park has imparted fresh momentum to our partnership. I am confident that our talks today have laid out a road map for the expansion and enhancement of our Strategic Partnership in the coming years,” he said.

Expressing satisfaction over outcome of the talks, Park said she has requested Singh to allow South Korean banks to operate in India.

Park also said there has been scope for enhancing cooperation in defence sector.

In an apparent reference to North Korea, she said the Korean peninsula has been facing the threat of nuclear weapons and efforts must be made to ensure peace and stability in the region.

PTI

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