Excellency, President Park Geun-hye,
Members of the Media,
It is a great pleasure to visit Republic of Korea. I sincerely thank President Park for the warm welcome and hospitality.
I had excellent discussions with President Park today. Her own visit to India in January 2014 had a big impact on our relations.
I am pleased to visit Republic of Korea in the first year of my Government. I have visited here before as Chief Minister.
Korea's economic rise had left me deeply impressed. In the short time since then, Korea's global leadership in manufacturing and technology has become more visible.
Korea is also a strong pillar of democracy in Asia.
Korea's rapid progress has made the vision of an Asian century stronger.
It will be based not only on the strength of Korea's economy, but also its contribution to peace and stability in the region.
We consider Korea a crucial partner in India's economic modernization.
I am here at a time of renewed momentum in the Indian economy. We are pursuing a comprehensive programme of economic modernization that covers all sectors of our economy and all aspects of policies and procedures.
We have a special focus on infrastructure and developing a world class manufacturing sector. Korea can be a leading partner in this enterprise.
Our relationship started with a strong economic emphasis. But, it has also now become strategic in content.
The need for closer engagement between countries with shared values and vision has never been stronger.
For all these reasons, this is a very important visit for me.
I am pleased that we have agreed to upgrade the bilateral relationship to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’.
The decisions today reflect how seriously we take the new framework of our relationship. Republic of Korea is the second country with which India will have a diplomatic and security dialogue in 2+2 format.
I welcome the decision to have regular cooperation between our national security councils.
We have also agreed to expand cooperation between our armed forces.
We intend to deepen our cooperation in defence technology and manufacture of defence equipment in India. This sector offers huge opportunities in India.
I have requested President Park to support the participation of Korean companies in the defence sector in India. Her response has been positive.
We had extensive discussions on our economic relations.
Many Korean brands are household names in India. President Park and I see vast opportunities for Korean companies to participate in our ‘Make in India’ Mission. I will meet Korea's business leaders tomorrow. Korean companies have the edge to succeed in India.
We will also establish a channel – Korea Plus – to facilitate their investment and operations in India.
I sought President Park's support for participation of Korean companies in new areas.
Besides defence equipment, I invited Korean investments in areas like ship building, including LNG tankers.
Our decision to establish a Joint Working Group on shipbuilding reflects our seriousness to cooperate in this area. Korean companies will be participating in India's plans to acquire and manufacture LNG tankers. Tomorrow, I will visit a shipyard in Ulsan.
President Park and I shared the view that our modest trade is well below its potential. We agreed to review the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and other market access related issues. I conveyed our desire to see a balanced and broad-based growth in bilateral trade.
We also had productive discussions on international issues.
I welcomed Korea’s diplomatic efforts to maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. I also shared her concerns that proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction will not be in the interest of countries of the region. I offered India’s support to Korean people for peaceful re-unification of Korean Peninsula.
We discussed our engagement in the East Asia Summit and with ASEAN. We have a shared interest in an open, balanced and inclusive regional architecture. We have common views on maritime security in this region.
We agreed to work together and with other countries in the region to ensure the freedom of navigation and safety and security of sea lanes of communication. Challenges of cyber security and terrorism are also areas of interest to both of us.
The visit to Korea has just begun, but it is already very productive. We have laid the foundation for a relationship that two major Asian countries with shared values should have.