India, S Korea sign five-year defence coop agreement

India and South Korea on Friday entered into a five-year defence cooperation accord by signing two memorandums of understandings on sharing of military expertise and technology.

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2010, 18:22 PM IST

New Delhi: India and South Korea on Friday
entered into a five-year defence cooperation accord by signing
two memorandums of understandings on sharing of military
expertise and technology.

Defence Minister A K Antony and his Korean counterpart
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
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to give a huge boost to the
Strategic Partnership between the two countries," Defence
Ministry spokesperson 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, 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 the hope that his visit would start a new
chapter in the already close relationship between the two
nations.

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.

Antony is accompanied by a high-level delegation that
includes Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Navy Vice Admiral R
K Dhowan, Army Lieutenant General K T Parnaik, DRDO`s Dr
Prahlada and Adviser to Defence Minister 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, Kar said.

The MoU also provided for cooperation in humanitarian
assistance and international peace-keeping activities.

"The MoU will remain valid for a period of five years
with provision for its extension by five more years," he said.

The second MoU was signed by the Chief Controller of
Research and Development of DRDO Prahlada and Vice
Commissioner of Defence Acquisition and Procurement Agency
(DAPA) of South Korea Kwon Oh Bong.

To be operational under the overarching umbrella of
India-South Korea Defence Agreement, the MoU aimed at
identifying futuristic defence technology areas of mutual
interest and pursuing Research and Development works in both
the countries.

Co-development and co-production of defence products with
Indian industry through DRDO by South Korean industry was part
of the understanding.

"There will be joint Intellectual Property Rights on all
the products developed through this mechanism. Some areas of
immediate interest were marine systems, electronics and
intelligence systems and these have been identified as
priority tasks," Kar said.

Antony and Kim also discussed a wide range of security
issues, both regional and global during their talks.

Antony said India and South Korea shared common
perception of maintaining peace as well as ensuring safety
and security of sea lanes of communication in the region.

He said regular exchanges towards ensuring maritime
security was important to both countries, especially in
securing vital energy supplies that pass through the Indian
Ocean.

"It is of particular importance for like-minded countries
working in the Gulf of Aden to coordinate efforts and also
exchange information on the happenings in the area. We look
forward to continued and enhanced cooperation between the
navies of India and South Korea in this regard," he said.

On the regional security scenario in the Indian
sub-continent, Antony said, "We live in a troubled
neighbourhood. Some call it a fragile region. We have to
maintain balance and restraint even in the face of grave
challenges to our security."

He said India`s intention was to develop friendly and
cooperative relations with all our neighbours so that New
Delhi can focus on its major development needs.

Antony said India looked at itself as an integral part of
East Asia.

Noting that India was a founding member of East Asia
Summit and as such, looked at the emerging architecture in
East Asia as "open and inclusive," he said that was why India
welcomed the decision of ASEAN Foreign Ministers to move
towards the inclusion of the United States and Russia as
members of the East Asia Summit.

"We look forward to working closely with South Korea in
the emerging architecture in this part of the world," he
added.

Earlier in the day, Antony, along with the delegation,
visited the National Cemetery in Seoul and laid a wreath
there, apart from inspecting, amid light drizzle, a colourful
inter-services guard of honour presented by the South Korean
Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence headquarters.

PTI