‘Enhancing Partnership between Korea and India in the Face of Uncertainties’


‘Enhancing Partnership between Korea and India in the Face of Uncertainties’

Indian Ambassador to Korea Amit Kumar, center, emphasizes the importance of strengthening Korea-India cooperation during The Korea Times Global Business Forum at the Korea Press Center, Thursday. From left are Sharique Badr, first secretary of the embassy, Nishi Kant Singh, embassy deputy chief of mission, Kumar, Kim Jong-chul, director general for international trade relations at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and Kim Jeong-kon, director of the India and South Asia team at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Korea Times Global Business Club explores opportunities for bilateral cooperation

By Kim Hyun-bin

Indian Ambassador to Korea Amit Kumar emphasized the importance of the deepening strategic partnership between Korea and India, Thursday, underscoring that the multifaceted nature of this partnership, including political and strategic consultations, economic collaboration and cultural interactions, is the key for the prosperity and development of both nations.

“We are going through significant transitions in terms of geopolitical shifts or reconfiguration of supply chains or in terms of new and emerging technologies,” Kumar said during the “India-ROK: Partners for Growth and Prosperity” Global Business Club (GBC) event organized by The Korea Times at the Press Center in Seoul. The main theme of the event was potential opportunities in India, particularly amidst the backdrop of rising global uncertainties.

“As the fifth- and the 10th-largest economies in the world, India and the Republic of Korea will need to work even more closely in the coming years,” Kumar said.

The GBC, an exclusive business club-style event, aims to galvanize communications with decision-makers outside Korea. Thursday’s event was the third of its kind after its inaugural edition with Indonesia in February and second with Vietnam in May.

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Representing Korea’s seventh-largest trading partner, the Indian ambassador also stressed the importance of investing more time and effort in raising awareness about business opportunities, describing the event as a crucial step in that direction.

The Korea Times President-Publisher Oh Young-jin gives the opening speech during The Korea Times Global Business Forum at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Oh Young-jin, president-publisher of the English-language daily, introduced India’s remarkable economic growth and its potential for enhancing relations with Korea.

“Korea stands ready to provide assistance for India’s future journey, both in terms of technology and finance. Involvement in India plays a vital role in Korea’s growth and prosperity,” Oh said.

“The trustworthy relationship formed as friends with a long historical bond and support during challenging times will transform both nations into mutually complementary and essential partners admired by all.”

Indian Ambassador to Korea Amit Kumar gives a keynote speech during The Korea Times Global Business Forum at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Kumar further highlighted the extensive calendar of bilateral engagements that have taken place throughout the year, including a meeting between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as interactions between Foreign Minister Park Jin and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. Notably, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Korea in April, reinforcing the commitment to enhancing economic ties and cooperation.

“India is changing at an unprecedented rate. We have implemented structural reforms and regulatory liberalization, relaxed FDI norms, relentlessly focused on improving both physical and digital infrastructure,” the ambassador said.

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“I firmly believe that India has the size, scale and growth opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Plus, our location can serve as a springboard for exports to other regions.”

The envoy also emphasized the need to upgrade the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to bolster cooperation between the two nations.

“The two sides are in discussions to upgrade the CEPA. We need to approach CEPA as a tool not only for trade but also investments and as an avenue for bilateral economic cooperation by expanding discussions to include infrastructure, energy and new technologies.” he said.

Min Geun-hye, a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, asks Indian Amassador to Korea Amit Kumar about the rapid growth of India’s economy during The Korea Times Global Business Forum at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Kumar concluded his address with optimism for the future of Korea-India relations, emphasizing the boundless potential for bilateral collaborations.

He underlined the imperative for both countries to work hand in hand, heralding a promising era of fortified bilateral ties. “It is time to move forward,” he said, underscoring the significance of this partnership on the global stage.

During the event, Nishi Kant Singh, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of India in Seoul, delved into the wide-ranging investment opportunities in his country, while Sharique Badr, first secretary of the embassy, provided insights into India’s startup ecosystem and digital transformation.

Following the presentations, a panel of experts engaged in Q&A sessions, which included the participation of Kim Jong-chul, director general for international trade relations at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and Kim Jeong-kon, director of the India and South Asia team at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

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The event drew approximately 100 attendees, signifying Koreans’ heightened interest in India. Participants included executives from some of Korea’s leading companies, academics specializing in Asian studies and students engaged in Indian studies, who are anticipated to become the bridges between Korea and India in the near future.

“I didn’t have much knowledge about India, and the reason for that is because India, in my perception as a somewhat developing country, was primarily associated with poverty, such as the Ganges River,” said Min Geun-hye, a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

“However, now that I’m here, I learned more about how India is reforming and developing, such as the ‘Make in India’ policy or how it is improving and expanding its infrastructure.”

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