Yoon, Modi agree to boost cooperation in defense, space

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed Sunday to boost cooperation in defense and space as the two countries look to strengthen strategic ties in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders reached the agreement during a bilateral meeting, which was held on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in New Delhi and coincided with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and India.

Yoon and Modi agreed to continue cooperation for the smooth implementation of an Indian government project to procure additional South Korean-made K9 self-propelled howitzers, known as Vajra in India, while further deepening cooperation in the defense and arms industries, according to the presidential office.

They also noted the contributions of South Korean businesses in establishing a stable supply chain in India through continued investments in electric vehicle and other cutting-edge production facilities, and agreed to further widen the scope of supply-chain cooperation to the IT, electronics and other new industries.

The presidential office said Yoon and Modi shared the assessment that cooperation on critical technologies is becoming increasingly important among like-minded nations and committed to strengthening cooperation on space based on their countries' respective space development capabilities, demonstrated in South Korea's successful launch of space rocket Nuri in May and India's successful placement of the Chandrayaan-3 lander on the moon last month.

"The two leaders agreed to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation between the two countries as key partners in the Indo-Pacific region," the presidential office said.

The two leaders also agreed to seek progress in negotiations to upgrade their countries' Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that took effect in 2010.

They anticipated that the launch of the Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES) between their countries this year will ease customs procedures for their businesses, and promote trade and investment. The EODES is a system that allows countries to process certificates of origin through electronic platforms.

Yoon asked Modi for his special attention to India's customs and import restrictions to enable South Korean businesses to increase investments in the country.

To help South Korean companies increase participation in India's high value-added infrastructure projects, the two agreed to sign a loan agreement of up to US$4 billion through South Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

Yoon and Modi also discussed regional issues and cooperation on the global stage, agreeing that the two countries are building a solid cooperation framework through solidarity based on the universal values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law.

They committed to jointly contributing to regional peace and stability, and the rules-based order, by developing common ground between South Korea's Indo-Pacific Strategy and India's vision for the Indo-Pacific.

The two leaders shared the opinion that North Korea's unprecedented provocations pose a serious threat to peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the region and the world, and agreed on the need for a united and firm response from the international community.

Source: Yonhap News Agency