NEW DELHI: India and South Korea on Friday entered into a five-year defence cooperation accord by signing two memorandums of understanding on sharing of military expertise and technology.
Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony and his Korean counterpart, Mr Kim Tae-Young signed the two agreements in Seoul during the former’s two-day official visit there. “Heralding a new chapter in the history of defence cooperation, India and South Korea today signed two landmark Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) to give a huge boost to the Strategic Partnership between the two countries,” Defence Ministry spokesperson, Mr Sitanshu Kar said in a release from Seoul.
The two MoUs were signed at the end of nearly 90-minute intensive discussions between the delegations of the two countries, he said. After the signing of the agreements, Mr Antony said New Delhi would be happy to see the defence industry relationship to be “more than a buyer-seller relationship” and its further evolution into transfer of technology, joint production and joint research and development. He expressed hope that his visit would start a new chapter in the already close relationship between the two nations. Mr Kim, in his address, said the two MoUs would provide a “win-win scenario” for the two countries in a number of areas.
This was the first-ever visit of an India defence minister to South Korea. Mr Antony is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Defence Secretary, Mr Pradeep Kumar, Navy Vice Admiral R K Dhowan, Army Lieutenant General K T Parnaik, Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Dr Prahlada and Adviser to Defence Minister, Mr Sundaram Krishna.
The first MoU envisaged exchange of defence-related experience and information, mutual exchange and visits by military personnel and experts including civilian staff associated with defence services, military education and training and conduct of military exercises, exchange visits of ships and aircraft, as jointly decided between the two countries, Mr Kar said.
The second MoU was signed by Dr Prahlada and South Korea’s Mr Kwon Oh Bong.