India-South Korea relations in the age of Indo-Pacific
India-South Korea bilateral defense deals and the recently held Korea-India Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue show the convergence between New Delhi and Seoul.
Historical Ties and Shifting Global Dynamics
- Strong Historical Roots: India and South Korea share a deep historical connection dating back to 48 BCE when Princess Suriratna from India married King Kim Suro in Korea, a cherished part of Korean folklore.
- Similar Security Challenges: India and South Korea face similar security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region due to the military growth of China and North Korea's nuclear capabilities.
- Quad and Global Dynamics: Both India and South Korea are part of the QUAD, a group of like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and a rules-based maritime order.
Economic Partnerships and Security Cooperation
- Economic Synergies: Both nations are exploring opportunities for economic collaboration, including in areas like semiconductor manufacturing and electric vehicles.
- Defense and Security Cooperation: Joint ventures like the production of the K9 Vajra artillery gun and potential collaboration in naval shipbuilding technologies showcase their commitment to enhancing defense ties.
- Trade Deficit Challenge: Despite growing economic engagement, India faces a rising trade deficit with South Korea. Negotiations are ongoing to open up Korean markets to Indian products.
Way Forward and Mutual Interests
- Alignment of Interests: Both India and South Korea share a substantial alignment of interests in a rapidly changing global landscape, including the ongoing power struggle between the US and China.
- Building Strong Connections: The two nations should work on building stronger bilateral, minilateral, and multilateral connections.
- Mutual Benefits: Trust and mutual benefit should be the pillars of their relationship. Collaborating on economic, defense, and strategic fronts can help both India and South Korea navigate the evolving global dynamics successfully.