In the midst of conflicts and competition, development cooperation suffered, impeding progress. Assuming the G20 Chair, India sought to offer the world an alternative to status quo, a shift from a GDP-centric to human-centric progress. India aimed to remind the world of what unites us, rather than what divides us.
Amid increasing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues, South Korea has shared India’s position on the Indo Pacific region.
”We want a free, peaceful and prosperous Indo Pacific based on the principles of inclusiveness, trust and reciprocity,” a top official of the South Korean foreign ministry told a group of visiting Indian journalists.
India, he said, was a very important country in Seoul’s Indo Pacific strategy. ”We are discussing a lot many things with India as it is a priority country for us as part of our Indo Pacific strategy,” he added.
Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just-concluded visit to the United States, the official said it would be helpful in implementing a much more balanced Indo Pacific strategy.
The official, who did not wish to be identified, however, declined to say anything on China’s role in the Indo Pacific or the ongoing India-China military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh. Though it has deepened security with the US, South Korea invariably remains wary of angering China with which it shares land and maritime borders.
The Korean official said the special strategic partnership between India and South Korea has truly deepened ties between the two countries in key areas. ”We want to further expand our ties with India in economic areas, defence industry and supply chains,” he added. Exchanges and collaborations with Indian companies in the field of defence would be expanded further.
Welcoming India’s presidency of G20, the official said South Korea would participate and actively support New Delhi to meet challenges like climate change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Taking a positive view of Quad that brings together India, Japan, Australia and the United States on a common platform, the official declined to confirm if South Korea would like to be a member of the grouping.
On whether South Korea would allow more Indians to work in the East Asian nation, he acknowledged that IT and skilled manpower from India was important for his country too. However, a decision on the issue could only be taken in consultation with the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Justice.
Asked about reports that North Korea was developing tactical nuclear weapons that could target South Korea, the official said Pyongyang was not only posing a threat to peace in the Korean Peninsula but to the entire global community. ”Let them (North Korea) know that they can’t get any result from such hostile postures,” he added.