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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today said that India and South Korea have become “truly important partners” for each other and stressed that bilateral exchanges have witnessed steady growth. On a two-day visit to South Korea, Mr Jaishankar said that India is interested in now expanding the partnership to new areas like critical and emerging technologies, semiconductors, green hydrogen and nuclear cooperation among others.

Mr Jaishankar recalled that the ties between the two counties were elevated to a special strategic partnership during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to South Korea in 2015. He noted that the two counties celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2023.

In his opening remarks at the 10th India – South Korea Joint Commission Meeting in Seoul, Mr Jaishankar said, “Last year, as you noted, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties. During our Prime Minister’s visit in 2015, our relations were elevated to a special strategic partnership. It is important that we live up to that.”

“We have grown from strength to strength in the years that have passed. We have become truly important partners for each other. And our bilateral exchanges – trade, investments, defence, and S&T cooperation, have all seen a steady growth,” he added.

Mr Jaishankar and his South Korean counterpart, Cho Tae-yul, chaired the 10th India-South Korea Joint Commission Meeting in Seoul on Wednesday.

The External Affairs Minister congratulated Cho Tae-yul on his appointment as South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Stressing expanding cooperation between India and South Korea to new sectors, Mr Jaishankar said, “While keeping up the momentum in the traditional areas of cooperation, we would be very much interested now in expanding it to new areas, such as critical and emerging technologies, semiconductors, green hydrogen, human resource mobility, nuclear cooperation, supply chain resilience, etc, to make our ties more contemporary.”

He recalled the meetings between PM Modi and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Hiroshima and New Delhi in 2023. He further said, “I think their discussions have provided us the guidance to go forward.”

The External Affairs Minister said, “We have also noted the growing convergence of our views in the international forum. Your focus on the Indo-Pacific region is a good case to point, and we both have stakes in its stability, security, and prosperity.”

He held a meeting with South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Ahn Dukgeun in Seoul on Tuesday in which the two leaders held discussions on trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

In a post on X, Mr Jaishankar stated, “Pleased to meet with Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Ahn Dukgeun today in Seoul. Wide-ranging conversation on our trade and economic cooperation, both current and future, which is at the heart of the India-South Korea relationship.”

He also met South Korea’s think tank representatives. In a post on X, Mr Jaishankar stated, “Interesting conversation with think tank representatives of RoK. Our exchanges and interaction would only increase as the convergences between our two countries grow.”

Mr Jaishankar also held a meeting with Director of National Security Chang Ho-jin in Seoul. During the meeting, the two sides discussed shared convergences in the Indo-Pacific and contemporary regional and global issues.

In a press release, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated, “India – Republic of Korea Special Strategic Partnership has expanded to diverse areas of cooperation, which include trade, investments, defence, education, S&T, and culture.””The Joint Commission Meeting is expected to comprehensively review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation and explore avenues for further strengthening it. It will also provide an opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest,” it added.