Antony to go on two-day visit to South Korea


New Delhi : Defence cooperation between India and South Korea is poised to receive a major boost when Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday goes on a two-day visit to Seoul.

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This is the first visit of an Indian defence minister to South Korea and is at the invitation of his counterpart, Kim Tae-young.

“The visit is part of India’s Look East Policy and a wide range of issues including defence cooperation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and bilateral cooperation in research and development for manufacture of military equipment will figure prominently during the discussions between Antony and the top leadership of South Korea,” a defence ministry statement said.

Antony will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Lt. Gen. K.T. Parnaik, Prahlada and Sundaram Krishna.

The Indian delegation will also visit some of South Korea’s defence establishments.

Antony’s visit has been planned as a follow-up of the joint declaration issued during the state visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to New Delhi in January when it was decided to elevate the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership.

The foundation for the India-South Korea defence relations was laid in 2005 when the two countries signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in defence, industry and logistics. Yet another MoU on cooperation between the Coast Guards of the two countries was signed in March 2006.

India had played a major role at the conclusion of the Korean war in 1953 when it deployed a brigade of troops to the UN peacekeeping mission that supervised the armistice that brought the conflict to an end.