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Park to boost ties with India visit
January 14, 2014, 6:29 am

File Photo of South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye speaking during a banquet [Getty Images]

File Photo of South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye speaking during a banquet [Getty Images]

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is due to arrive in India on Wednesday for an official visit during which she is expected to push for some of the South Asian nation’s nuclear business, officials said.

India has indicated that it would first need to see a demonstrator unit because India’s Department of Atomic Energy is unfamiliar with the Korean design.

“We haven’t even got into the feasibility issues (of a plant) so the issue of identifying possible sites (for the project) only comes after that. We’d desire on part of the India’s Department of Atomic Energy to first consolidate the civilian nuclear program before looking at new rights and (nuclear) program,” said India’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

India and South Korea signed a civilian nuclear agreement in 2011.

Indo-Korean trade is expected to rise to $40 billion by 2015. The two sides had signed a free trade pact, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2009.

The Korean side will push for an upgrade of the FTA when the two Finance Ministers meet on Wednesday with Seoul long arguing that rival Japan was offered a better deal.

India however is still reviewing some of the key free trade agreements (FTAs) that the country has signed so far with Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), as India had failed to achieve the main objective of leveraging the services sector.

Meanwhile, ahead of Park’s visit, South Korean steel maker Posco has received environment clearance for its $12.6 billion steel plant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, ending an eight-year wait for the project to get off the ground.

However, environment clearance for Posco’s port project is still pending. A United Nations panel of experts had in October 2013 urged POSCO to suspend plans for the steel project.

However, Seoul-New Delhi defence and security ties will get a boost as local media reports suggest India is poised to make the first purchase of South Korean military equipment in the form of minesweepers.

“We do have a wide-ranging defense relationship, working together on defense research and development, anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden besides joint naval exercises with South Korea,” asserted Akbaruddin.


TBP and Agencies 

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