Focus: GS-II International Relations

Introduction

  • India and South Korea have signed numerous bilateral agreements with the aim of taking their ties to the next level.
  • However, the economic partnership is struck and their defence partnership appears to have receded from great all-round promise to the mere sale and purchase of weapon systems.

Indians in South Korea

  • Within South Korea, the integration of Indians in the local population is far from complete, as there have been some instances of what appears to be racial prejudice or discrimination, including toward Indians in work settings in South Korea.
  • As in any relationship, mutual respect regarding cultural values is the key to building a robust partnership between two countries which means to achieving that respect is often filling the information gap that creates a rift between two strong cultures.

Indian Culture Centre in Seoul

  • The establishment of the Indian Culture Centre (ICC) in Seoul in the 2010s was a step in the right direction with its mission being to promote people-to-people contacts.
  • The ICC’s attempts to broad-base an appreciation of Indian culture by, for example, teaching south Indian dances to elementary school students in South Korea, or organising experiential sessions centred on Indian cuisine, are commendable.
  • It may reach an exponentially wider audience if the focus of such efforts was the common man of South Korea, beyond the urban, English-speaking elite of Seoul and the same may be applicable to South Korean culture centres in India.

Conclusion

  • As the balance of power in the region continues to shift fast, India and South Korea may need each like never before, to protect their ways of life.
  • However, both countries will be able to help each other only if they can fill the cultural gaps.
  • A regional hegemon is already pushing hard into the ambit of the Indian Ocean, and the sooner these bonds are renewed the better it would be for all Asian democracies.

India–South Korea relations

  • Formal establishment of diplomatic ties between India and South Korea occurred in 1970s, and since then several trade agreements have been reached.
  • Trade between the two nations has increased exponentially from $ 530 Million in 1990s to $ 17.6 Billion in 2010s.
  • The Indian Community in Korea is estimated to number 8,000, including businesspeople, IT professionals, scientists, research fellows, students etc.
  • South Korea is currently the fifth largest source of investment in India.
  • Korean companies such as LG and Samsung have established manufacturing and service facilities in India.
  • Several Korean construction companies won grants for a portion of the many infrastructural building plans in India, such as the National Highways Development Project.

Click Here to read more about India-North Korea Relations (3rd Article) (to answer questions that might require a comparison)

-Source: The Hindu

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