Moon began the second day of the state visit with a meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and discussed ways to improve ties between the two countries.
“I have hopes to raise Korea-India relations to that with the four major powers surrounding Korea to match India‘s global standing,” Moon said.
|President Moon Jae-in and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday. Yonhap|
The four major powers Moon was referring to are China, Japan, Russia and the US.
Moon also talks about the New Southern Policy, and the need to expand areas of cooperation.
Moon’s New Southern Policy, in tandem with the New Northern Policy, aims to expand the country’s economic and diplomatic ties beyond its traditional allies and trading partners. In the New Southern Policy, Moon hopes to rapidly increase economic exchanges with countries to the south and southeast of the nation.
According to Cheong Wa Dae, Moon expressed hopes to consolidate bilateral relations, and to maximize cooperation. Seoul’s presidential office also said that Moon briefed Swaraj on the idea of “partnership for people, mutual prosperity and peace” that he plans to present to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their summit scheduled for Tuesday.
Ahead of the trip to India, Moon and his office emphasized the importance of India in the New Southern Policy on numerous occasions before the trip.
In an interview with Indian media conducted before his departure on Sunday, Moon said that he places “immense importance” in cooperation with India, and that Modi’s Act East Policy and his New Southern Policy are in tune with each other.
Moon also said that “limitless possibilities” are present for the two countries if India’s technological capabilities and human resources are combined with Korea’s capital and industrial experience.
In a press briefing last week, Moon’s top economic aide Kim Hyun-chul further commented that Moon hopes to take Korea-India relations to a new level. The two countries raised the status of bilateral relations to that of special strategic partners in 2015, and signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in 2010.
Following the meeting with the Indian exterior minister, Moon visited Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, accompanied by Modi.
Moon and Modi are scheduled to hold a summit meeting on Tuesday.
Moon’s visit to the Gandhi museum was followed by a forum of Korean and Indian business leaders. The South Korean president then attended the opening ceremony of Samsung Electronics’ plant in Noida, southeast of New Delhi.
Moon’s stay in India will wrap up on Wednesday, when he will fly to Singapore, another key partner for the New Southern Policy.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)