India and South Korea foster fresh development collaborations

The potential for cooperation between India and South Korea gained significant momentum during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in September.

India and South Korea are actively exploring collaborative development projects in neighbouring nations like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, signifying a notable shift in their bilateral relations. This endeavour, although still in its early stages, demonstrates Seoul’s expanding strategic focus beyond East Asia.

The potential for cooperation between India and South Korea gained significant momentum during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in September. Their discussions encompassed various areas such as trade, investment, defence, strategic technologies like semiconductors and battery tech, as well as regional issues and their bilateral Special Strategic Partnership.

This initiative follows India’s objective to collaborate with key nations such as the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan to undertake projects in third countries. The resources and technical expertise provided by these countries will aid in enhancing India’s efforts to integrate more closely with its neighbouring nations, thereby countering China’s regional economic influence.

Seoul has displayed a keen interest in strengthening its ties with India. The implementation of the nation’s “New Southern Policy” under former president Moon Jae-in aimed to prioritize ASEAN and India. Korea’s newly introduced Indo-Pacific strategy underscores the prioritization of advancing its special strategic partnership with India, a significant regional ally with shared values. The focus is on India’s substantial growth potential, highlighted by its position as the world’s second-largest population and its advancements in cutting-edge IT and space technologies.

An additional noteworthy aspect of this collaboration is the recently revealed trilateral agreement involving India, the US, and South Korea on strategic technologies. This initiative was set in motion when Washington and Seoul launched their Next Generation Critical and Emerging Technologies Dialogue in December. As part of this agreement, Seoul and Washington have committed to conducting consultations led by their respective National Security Council and National Security Office with like-minded partners. These consultations will focus on critical and emerging technologies and will include the launch of an informal trilateral technology dialogue with India in the first quarter of 2024.

During the visit of South Korea’s foreign minister, Park Jin, to India in April, discussions primarily revolved around commerce, investment, and technology. This emphasized the strengthening partnership between the two nations. With potential projects on the horizon in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, India and South Korea are well-positioned to play a more significant role in regional development, thereby shaping the economic and technological landscape of the Indo-Pacific region.

India and South Korea’s collaboration on joint development projects in neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh signifies a shift in their bilateral relations. This move demonstrates Seoul’s expanding strategic focus beyond East Asia. Although still in its early stages, this initiative is expected to stimulate economic growth in these countries by generating employment opportunities and fostering local industries. Additionally, it has the potential to enhance trade and investment, thereby strengthening economic ties between these nations.

The implementation of these projects could result in substantial infrastructure improvements, which would yield long-term benefits for the local economies. Enhanced infrastructure can facilitate trade, improve access to services, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. The involvement of India and South Korea, both renowned for their advanced IT and space technologies, could also lead to technology transfer, thereby boosting the technological capabilities of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This, in turn, could spur innovation and productivity, ultimately driving economic growth in these countries.

Furthermore, these joint projects have the potential to foster greater regional integration and cooperation among South Asian nations. This could contribute to a more stable and peaceful region, which is highly advantageous for economic development and prosperity. By partnering with India and South Korea, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh can effectively balance the regional economic influence of other major powers, granting them greater autonomy and leverage in regional affairs.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that while these projects hold potential benefits, their actual outcomes will depend on various factors such as the specific details of the projects and their implementation strategies. The success of these initiatives may hinge upon the level of commitment from all involved parties, the availability of resources, and the political and economic stability of the region.