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India, South Korea agree to deepen defence co-operation

The defence ministers of India and South Korea agreed to boost the defence co-operation between the two countries during a meeting held on 26 March in New Delhi.

The two ministers pledged to reinvigorate defence exchanges and co-operation, which have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, by holding diverse regular meetings such as a ‘2+2’ foreign and defence ministerial meeting, said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul in a statement, adding that both sides also vowed to expand ties in areas such as space and cyber security, and intensify co-operation on maritime issues and UN peacekeeping operations.

South Korea’s Defence Minister Suh Wook and his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, also discussed ways to deepen defence industrial ties, emphasising that the “roadmap for defence industries co-operation” agreed in 2020, which outlines a number of possible areas of co-operation, including research and development (R&D), has “laid the foundation for a mutually beneficial defence co-operation”.

Suh also asked India for its interest in South Korean military export items such as minesweepers and the Biho family of mobile air defence systems.

The two sides reiterated that the Indo-Pacific region should be part of a rules-based international order, and reaffirmed their support for multilateral initiatives to “promote peace and stability in the region and beyond”.

In a separate statement, the Indian Ministry of Defence acknowledged that the defence co-operation between the two countries “has broadened significantly in scale and scope across tri-service as well as agencies dealing with defence technology and industry”, adding that New Delhi and Seoul have also found “common ground on several multilateral fora and engagements”.

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