President Pratibha Devisingh Patil was given a 21-gun salute on arrival here on Sunday afternoon as she began her seven-day visit of the Republic of Korea and Mongolia.
Korean Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Min Dong-seok received the President at the air force base station. She was accompanied by her husband Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat.
Earlier, on board the special flight that brought her here, Ms. Patil said she would cover the “entire gamut of bilateral relations” with President Lee Myung-Bak during restricted and delegation-level talks during her stay here till July 26. The objective of her visit was to “accelerate the momentum of our relations.” She pointed out that President Lee was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in January 2010.
Asked whether there would be further progress on the India-Korea civil nuclear pact that was agreed upon in Hanoi last year but not yet formalised and signed, she said “all bilateral issues will be discussed and the nuclear issue will also come up for discussion.’” India looked forward to cooperation in this field.
But clearly, during this high-level visit, the emphasis will be on business, with both countries looking to expand their growing investments. While India would welcome more Korean investment that has already touched $2 billion, it is also looking for increased Indian business presence here. This is likely to be emphasised during the official meetings.
A large business delegation from India is already here and there is expectation on both sides that the President’s visit will give a fresh impetus to the already growing economic ties between the two countries. With trade touching $21 billion and expected to touch $30 billion by 2014, the delegation is also looking for areas in which they could invest. Tatas are already here, as are some information technology sector companies. India is hoping that pharma sector companies will also be able to get a break in this country.
India sees its ties with Korea as special in relation to its ‘Look East’ policy, especially as trade with Korea has increased rapidly and is promising to grow even faster. Hindu