About Us India - RoK Bilateral

India – Republic of Korea Bilateral Relations

Background

1. India-Republic of Korea (RoK) relations has made great strides in recent years and has become truly multidimensional, spurred by a significant convergence of interests, mutual goodwill and high level exchanges. Bilateral consular relations were established in 1962 which was upgraded to Ambassador-level in 1973. In course of time, RoK's open market policies and the New Southern Policy found resonance with India's economic liberalization, 'Look East Policy' as well as “Act East Policy”.

2. According to "SamgukYusa" or "The Heritage History of the Three Kingdoms" written in the 13th century, a Princess from Ayodhya (Suriratna) came to Korea, married King Kim-Suro, and became Queen Hur Hwang-ok in the year 48 AD. Korean Buddhist Monk Hyecho (or Hong Jiao) visited India from 723 to 729 AD and wrote travelogue "Pilgrimage to the five kingdoms of India" which gives a vivid account of Indian culture, politics & society. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore also composed a short but evocative poem – 'Lamp of the East' - in 1929 about Korea's glorious past and its promising bright future. He wrote:
"In the golden age of Asia Korea was one of its lamp bearers,
And that lamp is waiting to be lit once again
For the illumination of the East."

3. India played an important and positive role in Korean affairs after Korea's independence in 1945. Mr K P S Menon of India was the Chairman of the 9-member UN Commission set up in 1947 to hold elections in Korea. During the Korean War (1950-53), both the warring sides accepted a resolution sponsored by India, and the ceasefire was declared on 27 July 1953. Lt. General K.S. Thimayya of India, served as the chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission [NNRC], after the armistice and contributed to resolving the humanitarian issues arising out of the War, which won appreciation from all quarters. A delegation of Indian Parliamentarians visited ROK on 26-27 July 2013 to participate in the events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement.

High Level Exchanges

4. The State Visit to RoK by President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in February 2006 heralded a new vibrant phase in India-RoK relations. It, inter alia, led to the launch of a Joint Task Force to conclude a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was operationalized on 1st January 2010. President Lee Myung-bak paid a landmark visit to India, as Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations on 26 January 2010, when bilateral ties were raised to the level of Strategic Partnership. It was followed by President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil's State Visit to RoK from 24-27 July 2011 when the Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement was signed. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to Seoul on 24-27 March 2012 for both bilateral and Nuclear Security Summit when visa simplification agreement was signed. Traditionally close bilateral relations were elevated to a qualitative higher level, with the state visit to India of President Park Geun-hye from 15-18 January 2014.

5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Korea during 18-19 May 2015, within the first year of his government. During the visit the bilateral relationship was upgraded to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’. Further PM Modi and President Park had bilateral meetings on the sidelines of East Asia Summit on 8 September 2016 at Vientiane, Laos and discussed progress made in the bilateral relations.

6. The relationship witnessed new momentum following the inauguration of President Moon Jae-in’s administration. President Moon sent Mr. Chung Dongchea, former Culture Minister, as his special envoy to India, first such instance in the bilateral relationship. This was followed by a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and President Moon on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Hamburg on 8 July 2017.

7. Speaker of National Assembly Chung Sye-kyun visited India on invitation of Speaker of Lok Sabha from 7 to 10 March, 2018 further strengthened the relationship.

8. President Moon Jae-in paid a state visit to India from July 8-11, 2018 on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the visit, both countries discussed wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues and issued a vision statement outlining shared vision for people, prosperity, peace and future. Both leaders discussed possible synergies between India’s Act East Policy and S. Korea’s New Southern Policy, Indo-Pacific strategy, cooperation in defense industry and future technologies. Both countries concluded 11 MoUs/Agreements ranging from Queen Suriratna Memorial Project to ICT & biotechnology.

9. As a follow up to the Mayor of Seoul’s visit to Delhi, Chief Minister of Delhi Mr Arvind Kejriwal visited Seoul from 12 to 15 September and discussed cooperation between Seoul and New Delhi and concluded a sister city agreement. First Lady of RoK H.E. Ms. Kim Jung-sook visited India from November 4-7, on PM Modi’s invitation as a Guest of Honor for the ‘Dipotsav’ Festival and participated at the ground breaking ceremony for construction of new memorial for Queen Suriratna at Ayodhya. In addition, Deputy NSA Pankaj Saran visited RoK in October 2018 for 2nd NSCS Dialogue and ROK FM Kang Kyung-wha visited India on 19 December 2018 and co-Chaired the 9th session of the India-RoK Joint Commission Meeting in New Delhi.

10. PM Narendra Modi paid a state visit to S. Korea from 21 to 22 February 2019 at the invitation of President Moon jae-in, during which both sides held wide ranging discussions on defense , economic, culture and science cooperation. Both the leaders unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the prestigious Yonsei university of Seoul. PM Modi also gifted a Bodhi sapling to Gimhae City and received the Seoul Peace Prize. Six MOUs were signed on start-ups, joint issue of postal stamp, combating trans-border and international crime, trade facilitation, roadways and media. PM Modi and President Moon met again on the sidelines of G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on 28 June 2019 and exchanged opinions on diverse fields including economic and defense industry cooperation as well as people -to-people exchanges.

11. Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh, Hon’ble Minister of Steel visited RoK in February 2019. Three members of the India-Korea Parliamentary Friendship Group led by Chairman Song Young-gil visited India on July 3-6, 2019 and met with Mr Harivansh Narayan Singh, Deputy Speaker of Rajya Sabha, and MOS of Civil Aviation Mr Hardeep Singh Puri. Raksha Mantri(RM) visited ROK from September 4-7, 2019. He called on ROK Prime Minister Mr. Lee Nak-yon and had bilateral talks with Minister of National Defense Mr Jeong Kyeong-doo. President Moon attended a special event in UN premises in New York, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi's birth at the invitation of PM Modi, in September 2019. Shri Ganeshi Lal, Hon’ble Governor of Odisha visited to ROK on October 30-November 4. Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala visited to ROK from November 30- December 4, 2019.

12. ROK Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo visited India in February 2020 and held talks with RM Shri. Rajnath Singh and attended DEFEXPO-2020 in Lucknow. Chief of Army Staff Gen. Naravane visited ROK in December 28-31, 2020  and had meetings with ROK Defense Minister Suh Wook, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff to ROK Won In-Choul, DAPA Minister Kang Eun-ho, and his counterpart Nam Yeong-shin. 

13. ROK Defense Minister Suh Wook visited India in March, 2021 and inaugurated the ‘India-Korea Friendship Park’ , which is a symbol of India’s contribution during the Korean War. Secretary (East) Ms. Riva Ganguly Das visited ROK from August 29 to September 1, 2021,met members of the National Assemblymen from the India-ROK Parliamentary Friendship Group, and  Chairperson of Presidential Committee on New Southern Policy on August 30, 2021. DG ICCR, Mr. Dinesh Patnaik also visited ROK at the similar time from August 30- September 3, 2021. Lok Sabha Speaker Mr. OM Birla met ROK National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug on September 08, 2021 on the sidelines of the the fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Vienna. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar met with ROK Foreign Minister Mr. Chung Eui-yong on September 21, 2021 on the occasion of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York and held in-depth discussions in various fields such as bilateral relations, promotion of people-to-people exchanges, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and substantive cooperation.

Economic Relations

14. In less than four decades, Korea has achieved remarkable progress transforming its economy into an export-driven powerhouse. Its GDP has crossed $1.6 trillion from a mere $ 2.3 billion in 1962, and recorded as the 12th largest in the word according to 2019 GDP. Its per capita income in 2019 was $ 31,846.3. Services (62.4%), Manufacturing (27.7%), Construction (6.0%), Electricity, gas and water supply (2.1%) and Agriculture (1.8%) accounted for GDP respectively in 2019. (Source: Bank of Korea). The economic transformation has been achieved despite Korea’s high dependence on import of natural resources including crude oil and essential minerals. Korea became the 29th member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1996. In 2020, Korea’s exports decreased by -5.4% to $512.8 billion and imports also reduced -7.1% to $467.5 billion. Over 40% of Korea’s trade is with China, USA and Japan. Korea’s other major trading partners are Vietnam, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Australia, Germany, Singapore, and Indonesia. Korea is the world’s top 10 largest foreign exchange reserves at $ 443.1 billion in 2020 (Source: Bank of Korea). It has world’s largest shipbuilding industry, and ranks among the top producers of semiconductors and electronic products. A major auto manufacturer, Korea produces over 4.5 million vehicles annually.         

15. Bilateral Trade: India’s share in Korea’s global trade was 1.72% in 2020 and India’s contribution in Korea’s global imports increased from 0.78% in 2001 to 1.05% in 2020. India is Korea’s 21st biggest source for imports and 7th biggest export market as of 2020. In the last four decades, pattern of Korean exports has undergone significant transformation. Exports moved up the value chain from primary goods to light industrial products, to heavy industrial, high-tech and knowledge-based products. One barrier that India faces is Korea’s restrictive policy towards import of primary agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables. These matters are being discussed in the annual CEPA review meetings. There is also a need for diversification of the export products which at present are driven by petrochemical products, mainly Naphtha. The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has affected bilateral trade greatly, recording downturn.

16. Major items of India’s export to Korea are mineral fuels / oil distillates (mainly naphtha), cereals, iron and steel. Basic materials comprise the bulk of our exports and especially naphtha has emerged as the most important item of India’s export to Korea commanding over 20%. As of December 2020, among the top five items importing from India, mineral fuels, mineral oils, bituminous substances, mineral waxes (HS Code: 27) recorded 1,059 million, sharing 22% of the total imports. Import of aluminium and articles thereof (HS Code: 76) marked $746 million, with 15% share. Organic chemicals (HS Code: 29) followed with $542 million, Iron and steel (HS Code: 72) with $237 million and Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances parts thereof (HS code: 84) with $209 million. All top five items have recorded downturn in 2020.

17. The 1st India-Korea Business Summit, conducted jointly by Chosun Group, Korea’s leading media group, and CII in New Delhi from 14-16 January 2016 created a conducive environment for trade and businesses between the two countries. The 2nd India-Korea Business Summit was held in New Delhi on 27 February 2018.

16. In 2017, 2018 and2019 Minister of Industries of Telengana, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Ministerial delegations from West Bengal and Assam visited South Korea exploring business ties and Korean investments in their respective states.

17. Korea’s main exports to India are automobile parts, telecommunication equipment, hot rolled iron products, petroleum refined products, base lubricating oils, nuclear reactors, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery & parts and iron & steel products. Among the top five items exporting to India, as of December 2020, Electrical machinery and etc. (HS Code: 85) showed downturn of -20% year-on-year, amounting to $ 2,188 million and shared 18.3% of the total exports. Nuclear reactors, boilers, etc. (HS Code: 84) marked $1,635 million, followed by Iron and Steel (HS code: 72) with $1,454 million, Plastic articles thereof (HS Code: 39) with $1,296 million and Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock and parts thereof (HS Code: 87) with $788 million. All top five items recorded downturn in 2020.

18. Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA): Korea and India signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in Seoul on 7 August 2009 and was operationalized with effect from 1 January 2010. CEPA is Korea’s first free trade agreement with a member of the BRICS nations. The trade deal, which came after negotiations of more than three years and twelve rounds, commits the two countries to lowering or eliminating import tariffs on a wide range of goods over the next 8 years, and helps expand opportunities for investments and trade in goods as well as services. Korea was to phase out or reduce tariffs on 90 percent of Indian exports while India would phase out or cut tariffs on 85 percent of Korean exports. CEPA classifies about 11,200 tariff lines of Korea and 5,200 tariff lines of India broadly into 6 categories for the purpose of reduction / elimination of tariffs. The categories include those which eliminate tariffs completely on implementation of the agreement and those with annual tariff reduction of 20% or 12.5%, and other categories under which final tariffs will be reduced to 1-5% after 8 years, and an exclusion category which will enjoy no tariff reduction. Most of the agricultural products and textiles, being sensitive to both sides, figure in exclusion category.

19. During the first year of operation of CEPA in 2010, the bilateral trade between India and Korea increased by 40% to over US $17.11 billion. Indian exports rose by 37% in 2010 while Korean exports increased by 42.7%. In the second year of implementation, i.e., by the end of 2011, the bilateral trade reached $20.55 billion recording a growth of 20.1%. In 2012 the bilateral trade came down to $18.84 billion. In 2014, South Korea’s imports from India dropped 14.6% to $5.28 billion on the back of a rupee depreciation and an unstable economic climate. 2015 saw further global economic slowdown, reduced prices for raw materials and the fall in international oil prices, which reduced Korea's import from India by 19.6 % to $4.24 billion. The trend has continued in 2016 and Korea’s import from India has decreased by 1.2% to $4.19 billion. However, in 2017, the world economy has recovered and Korea’s import from India has increased by 18.1% to $4.9 billion. In 2018 bilateral trade recorded the highest with $21.49 billion, pushed by 18.9% increase on India’s exports to ROK. However, due to the global pandemic, it recorded downturn at $16.85 billion in 2020.

20. As agreed during the Summit meeting in 2015, India and ROK have started the process of review, with an aim to comprehensively upgrade the CEPA. Ministerial Joint Committee led by the Trade Ministers of India and ROK also met in September 2017 and agreed to establish a Joint Future Strategy Group to identify areas of high-end technological cooperation, working towards cooperation in fields of standardization and conformity assessment to develop mutual recognition agreements and pilot project to provide Indian IT services to Korean small and medium companies. Eight rounds for CEPA upgradation at the DG-level have been held so far. Latest round took place in Delhi in June 2019.

21. Korean Investments in India: Korean FDI to India (up to Sep 2020, latest data as of Feb 2021) stood at $6.94 billion, as per the Export-Import Bank of Korea, of which $198 million was received in 2010, $452 million in 2011, $311 million in 2012, $342 million in 2013, $325 million in 2014, $314 million in 2015, $330 million in 2016 and $514 million in 2017, $1,053 million in 2018, $447 million in 2019 and $519 million in Jan-Sep 2020.

22. Among Korean companies that have invested in India, Hyundai Motor Group, Samsung Electronics and LG Group have been the leaders. Hyundai Motors has set up an automotive plant in Tamil Nadu with a capacity to produce more than 650,000 cars annually. Hyundai Motors India Ltd, Indian subsidiary of Hyundai Motors, would receive next tranche of investment to the tune of $ 1.05 billion for expansion of Sriperumbudur unit in order to manufacture electric vehicles. Kia Motors, a sister company in the Hyundai Group, announced an investment of $1.6 billion in two phases to set up two manufacturing units in Ananthapur, Andhra Pradesh. Kia Motors India became the fastest carmaker to achieve 200,000 units of wholesale domestic sales in the country. After registering a sales figure of 100,000 sales units in July 2020, the brand has registered sales of the second 100,000 units within a record 6-months' time. Samsung Electronics has two factories – one each in Noida and Sriperumbudur (TN) and five R&D Centres. Samsung announced $780 million investment to expand their Noida facility for manufacturing smartphones and consumer electronics. This Noida facility is the world’s largest mobile manufacturing unit, doubling its current capacity of 68 million to 120 million mobile phone units by 2020. Samsung Display has made an investment for constructing the smartphone panel factory in Samsung Electronic's Noida factory. LG Electronics operates two factories in India, one each in Noida and Pune, with an R&D Centre in Bangalore. LG Group, in a partnership with the Vedanta Group, is set to build India’s first LCD manufacturing unit in Maharashtra. POSCO has completed construction of its first steel mill in Maharashtra and set up another JV with Uttam Galva Group. The former entailed a total investment of $ 240 million for galvanized plate facility, whose production would cater to high-end galvanized needs of automakers in and around Pune besides those of home appliances companies. A leading Korean textile firm, Youngone Corporation-largest investor in Bangladesh, has signed an MoU with Telangana Government to establish a $300 million factory in Warangal with capacity of 10,000 jobs. Hyosung Corporation, global spandex leader, has announced to invest worth $450 million in a greenfield spandex manufacturing facility in Aurangabad Industrial City, Maharashtra with an initial capacity to generate 1000 jobs. Lotte confectionary has spread further by acquiring Havmor, Gujrat-based unit, beside its earliest investment in Chennai and recently in Rohtak.

23. Technological Cooperation: An Inter-Governmental MoU was inked between Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence of India and Ministry of Defense Acquisition Program Administration of ROK to partner in naval ship building on April 21, 2017. State-owned Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (HSL) will collaborate with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. of ROK for defence production under ‘Make in India’ program. In addition, a contract between L&T of India and M/s Hanwha Techwin of ROK has been signed for production of one hundred tracked self-propelled 155mm/52 calibre artillery guns ‘K-9 Vajra’ for Indian Armed Forces.

24. Korean Model of Investment: According to Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), about 88% of all Korean subsidiaries established in India are wholly-owned while approximately 11.3% are joint ventures. The joint ventures are mostly between Korean companies themselves, and joint ventures with Indian companies are rare. This is mainly due to the indifferent experience in mid 1990s of Korean SMEs when they tried to enter India through JVs with Indian companies. Korean enterprises, including Hyundai Motors, LG and Samsung decided to have wholly owned subsidiaries with large scale investments, which allowed them to operate on economies of scale, establish their brand image at early stage, and gain negotiating power with local government. The Korean model of investment of working through wholly-owned subsidiaries is in contrast with the Japanese model, which followed the typical process of technical tie ups, participation as minority stake holder and subsequently expansion of stakes.

25. CEOs Forum: During the visit of President Park’s visit to India in January, 2014 it was agreed to establish a CEO’s Forum, which would be mandated to submit a report on further enhancing economic cooperation to the two Governments. The first India ROK CEOs Forum was held in Seoul on 19 May 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Park. 

26. Indian Investments in Korea: Major Indian investments in ROK are as follows:

Novelis Inc., a subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd., the flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, acquired Alcan Taihan Aluminium Ltd. in January 2005. Novelis Inc. holds 68% share amounting to about US$ 600 million in Novelis Korea Ltd, which is Asia’s number one manufacturer of aluminium rolled products with state of art production facilities in Yeongju and Ulsan, and employs more than 1,200 employees. Novelis’ total investment in Korea is over $700 million. 

Tata Motors Limited, acquired Daewoo Commercial Vehicle based in Gunsan, Korea for a total price of KRW 120 billion (approximately $102 million) in March 2004. Its cumulative investment now is over $400 million.

Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) in August 2010 acquired a majority stake in ailing Ssangyong Motors with an estimated investment of about $ 360 million. Its cumulative investment now has crossed $ 1.5 billion and it has made the acquired company profitable in 2016-17.

Nakhoda Ltd, one of the large Indian producers of yarn acquired Kyunghan Industry Company which has a capacity for 150 tons per day of partially oriented yarn (POY), 90 tons per day of fully drawn yarn, and 60 tons of polyester fibre, with an investment of $40 million.

M/s Creative Plastic, invested US$ 2 million in ROK and set up a 100% Alchemy Mold & Plastic Ltd. in Pyeongtaek.

In addition, Indian IT majors including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), L&T Infotech and Mahindra Tech set up operations in ROK and have been serving both Korean and other foreign clientele in this country. 

27. Market Access for Indian Agricultural Products in Korea: Technical data for Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) in respect of agricultural products including walnut, mangoes, grapes and vegetables such as Okra and Brinjal (aubergine), was submitted to the Korean authorities from time to time since September 2004. These are at different stages of processing. PRA process was completed only in respect of mangoes and Indian mangoes were launched in ROK in 2017. ROK also applied for PRA clearances for fresh mushrooms, pear, apple, grape and paprika and these are under consideration of the Indian authorities. Korean Organic standards team, Ministry of Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Affairs has visited India in 2018 for onsite visit and provided report on equivalency standards determination as step towards Mutual Recognition Agreement in organic products. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, APEDA team from India could not visit Korea for inspection purpose. Due to which, Organic MRA process is still pending.

28. Engagement between the Finance Ministries: Korean Minister Mr. Yoon, Jeung-Hyun visited India for the first Ministerial level meeting with the then Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee in January 2011. During that meeting, it was agreed to have regular ministerial-level interactions and an MOU to formalize and streamline the engagement was proposed by the Korean side. Issues under discussion in this forum included: Taxation on Korean business operations in India; opening of bank branches; cooperation and exchange of expertise in tax evasion; cooperation between EXIM banks etc. Indian Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram paid a reciprocal visit to ROK on 2-3 November 2012 for a meeting with his counterpart Minister Bahk Jae Wan. The issues discussed included: fiscal policy, taxation, customs clearance, public procurement and cooperation in infrastructure. The 4th round of discussions were held in New Delhi in January 2014. Exim Bank of India and the Exim Bank of Korea agreed to provide each other lists of suitable projects for co-financing in third countries, including those in Africa. During the visit of PM to Korea in May 2015, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Export-Import Bank of Korea expressed their intention to provide US $10 billion for mutual cooperation in infrastructure, comprising Economic Development Cooperation Fund ($1 billion) and export credits ($ 9 billion) for priority sectors, including smart cities, railways, power generation and transmission, and other sectors to be agreed.

29. Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence Shri Arun Jaitley visited ROK from 14-17 June 2017 and co-chaired the Fifth India-Korea Financial Dialogue with newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Republic of Korea, H.E Mr Kim Dong-yeon. They discussed the risk of rising protectionism, and the need for the two countries to increase efforts to stimulate investment flows, support for infrastructure development, and bilateral trade. The two Ministers witnessed the signing of agreements to establish US$ 9 billion in concessional credit and US$ 1 billion in ODA funding for infrastructure development projects in India. Korea became one of the first non-G-7 countries to become an official development assistance contributor in India. Visit of ROK Finance Minister was planned in June 2020. However it could not happen due to global pandemic.

30. Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement: The revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement was signed during the State visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Seoul on 18 May 2015. 

 

Cultural Relations

31. To further enhance cultural exchanges between India and Korea, an Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) was established in Seoul in April 2011. Another Culture Centre was established in Busan in December 2013 on Public Private Partnership mode. A bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was unveiled in Seoul by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha Smt. Meira Kumar in May 2011.

32. As a gesture of friendship and goodwill to the Korean people, Prime Minister of India gifted a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. A bust of Mahatma Gandhi, presented by ICCR, was unveiled at the Hongbeop-sa temple in Busan on 21 July 2014. As part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, a Korea-India Peace Park was unveiled on June 3, 2019 and 150 trees planted at the historic Independence Park, Seoul.

33. ICC in Seoul and Busan offers regular classes on yoga and dance, both contemporary and classical for promotion of Indian culture. Sarang, the festival of India in Korea has been organised every year by the Embassy since 2015,to showcase diverse Indian culture and art forms in various parts of South Korea.

34. Various institutional arrangements between organisations and entities continue to promote people-to-people exchanges. This includes MoU between FSI and Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) signed in March 2012, JNU’s MoUs with Yonsei University, Korea University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and Busan University of Foreign Studies. DU also has signed an MoU with Korea University. In addition, HUFS in Seoul, and Busan University of Foreign Studies have Indian Studies Departments and JNU &DU offer programmes in Korea Studies and Korean Language Courses respectively. Madras University has also opened a Department of Korean Studies encouraged by the sizeable presence of Koreans including Hyundai Motors in Tamil Nadu.

35. In 2012 Seoul National University established a New Department of Asian Languages and 4 Civilizations wherein they are offering a major on Indian Studies. Various other Universities in Korea offer degree courses in Indian Philosophy, Yoga and Ayurveda.

36. Seoul Forum for International Affairs and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations have been jointly organizing the India-Korea Dialogue that makes recommendations on policies and practical measures to strengthen bilateral relations between the countries. Eighteen rounds of Dialogue have been held till date, with the last one held in Delhi in November 2019. Similarly there are other think tank interactions which are meeting on an annual basis.

37. Government of India offers scholarships and fellowships to Korean nationals for various programmes and disciplines covering research work and non-formal courses every year to study in India. Ayush Scholarship Scheme facilitates courses in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Homeopathy, while Hindi language scholarship is being offered by the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, Agra. RoK Government also offers scholarships to Indian nationals each year to study Korean Language and Literature at Masters and PhD level at select Korean Universities.

38. Good air connectivity between the two countries has been established with direct flights operated by Air India and Korean Air. Further, as part of our effort to promote tourism and greater people-to-people exchanges, Government of India granted Visa on Arrival facility to Korean nationals coming through 6 designated international airports in India since 1 October 2018.

Indian community

39. The total number of Indian nationals living in ROK is estimated to be around 12,000, which includes around 300 PIOs. A large number of Indian scholars are pursuing post-graduate and Ph. D programmes, mostly in pure sciences in Korea. During the past few years, many professionals mainly in the areas of IT, shipping and automobile have immigrated to ROK. They are working mostly with companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai TATA Daewoo, TCS. There is also significant number of students and academicians in the universities.

40. With the aim of bringing the Indians into closer coordination, the Embassy brought various Indian Associations in ROK onto a common platform as part of a Coordination Committee. The Committee has proved to be an effective platform for dissemination of information and coordinating cultural events/activities. Prominent associations of expatriate Indians in RoK include the Annapurna Indian Women's Association (AIWA), Indians in Korea (IIK) - comprising mostly of professionals, Indian Student Association in Korea and Indian Merchants' Association (IMA). The Associations function under the aegis of the Embassy and undertake various cultural as well as social activities every year including organizing Holi and Diwali functions which provide the community an opportunity to socialize with other members and stay in touch with Indian culture.


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October 2021