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Remarks by Ambassador at Daegu-Gyeongbuk India Business Forum

Posted on: November 20, 2018 | Back | Print

Mr. Seung Ho Lee Vice Mayor of Daegu Metropolitan City
Mr. Joo Seuk Lee President of Daegu Gyeongbuk Development Institute
Mr. Herbert Lee Secretary General of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea
Mr. Chang Jae Lee, Daegu Employers Federation, Vice President
Distinguished participants, friends and colleagues,

Good morning to you all.

I am delighted to be present at this Business Forum that aims to bring about a better understanding and appreciation of opportunities in India amongst the Daegu business community and to build a strong foundation for our efforts at promoting trade and investment partnerships between the Indian and Korean business communities, with Daegu playing a key role. 

I have been reading about Daegu and am very impressed by your beautiful city’s rich history and culture.  I have just paid homage at the memorial to Indian Colonel Unni Nayyar, who was martyred at Waegwan during the Korean War in 1953.  He was sent here as a delegate of India to the UN Commission in Korea, and was killed while on duty. His life and service stands as a lasting reminder of the friendship between the people of India and the people of Daegu.  We thank the Daegu Government for honouring his memory by taking such good care of his memorial.

I have also visited the website of the Daegu Metropolitan City Government and am impressed by the vision and dynamism of your Government and leaders.  I find that yours is a city with a strong connection with India - I have also had the opportunity to meet the Daegu Mayor H.E. Kwon Young-jin a short while ago and have found him to be keen on working with India achieving his goals for the future development of Daegu.  It was in recognition of the special relationship between India and Daegu that the Embassy of India had organised the Republic Day reception in January 2017 in Daegu, in collaboration with the Daegu Metropolitan Government.  Since then, we have seen much trade and business interaction take place and concrete business transacted in various fields.  We have noted the special strength of Daegu in the fields of textiles and have been proudly partnering with the Preview in Daegu Textile Fair every year since 2010.

We see Daegu as a key partner in our flagship programmes, given its known strengths in the areas of textiles and its clear orientation towards fashion, high-tech industries, Future automobiles, Metal, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.  Each one of these areas is of importance for the Indian economy too. 

Friends, you would be aware that the Government of India is focused on bringing about inclusive economic growth and infrastructure development. Prime Minister Modi has made it clear that creating an enabling environment for business and attracting investment is his top priority. He has emphasized that India will provide “red carpet” to investors and not the “red tape”of bureaucratic procedures. As a result, the environment of ‘doing business’ in India is constantly evolving and improving.  We are ushering in stable, predictable and transparent regulations, reducing the timelines for registration of businesses and increasing the spread of e-governance. As a consequence, India has improved its ranking in the World Bank's Doing Business Report by 30 spots over its 2017 ranking, entering the top 100 in the 2018 edition of the report.   India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world not only as per the Indian Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) but also as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF). India’s GDP is estimated to have increased 6.6 per cent in 2017-18 and is expected to grow 7.3 per cent in 2018-19.

As Korea faces economic challenges, India offers a stable and secure environment for Korean investments. Being one of the fastest growing economy with abundant youth demography, raising middle class, skilled human resources and business friendly government policy initiatives, Korea could benefit from investing in India.

We believe that South Korea can be a reliable partner for India in its flagship programes such as Make in India, Clean India, Digital India, Start-up India, Skill India and smart-cities programme. These will not only help in transforming India but will also benefit Korea on its economic growth in the coming decades.  In addition, given our long term developmental aspirations to make India into a global manufacturing hub, Korea could benefit from entering Indian market in a big way and use it as a export base for South Asia, West Asia, Africa and East Europe.

Friends, India and Korea enjoy a unique and warm and friendly relationship. Our relations are cemented by close historical bonds based a shared civilizational heritage in which Buddhism, which spread from India to East Asia, plays a major role. The recent and highly productive visit of Hon’ble President of Korea Moon Jae-in to India has given a further impetus to our ties. I was fortunate to be present during this visit, even before I took over as Ambassador, and witnessed firsthand the chemistry between President Moon and Prime Minister Modi.  I believe that this chemistry has set the tone for a very positive trajectory in our relations in the coming months.  As it is, we have seen many positive signs in the past year or so: The synergy between President Moon’s decision to elevate relationship with India to the level of four traditional partners under his New Southern Policy and India’s Act East Policy, through which we see Korea as the preferred partner for our developmental aspirations. I have found in my brief time here so far immense respect for and receptivity to India in Korean Government, business and cultural circles.  I assure you that this respect and receptivity is heartily reciprocated in India for Korea.

The visa on arrival facility that has been made available to Korean nationals from October 1 this year will further facilitate your travel to India.  This is a rare privilege– Korea is one of just two countries to enjoy this facility.

The South Korean business community is justly known to be a dynamic and outward looking one: And within this community, Daegu’s business community is certainly a leader.  I hope that the dicussions today will encourage you further. 

Thank you for your attention.