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Korea, India to bolster ties in infrastructure, manufacturing

The leaders of South Korea and India vowed to promote closer economic ties when they attended the first CEO forum for the two countries in Seoul on Tuesday.

“There is still huge room for growth in economic ties between the two countries, given their economic growth potential and complementary trade structure,” South Korean President Park Geun-hye said during her opening speech in the first Korea-India CEO Forum in Seoul on Tuesday.

Business areas where Korea and India can create win-win partnerships include manufacturing, information and communication technology, cultural contents, software and energy, President Park said.

Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo (left) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a Seoul hotel on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo (left) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a Seoul hotel on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor)

“Modinomics and Korea`s three-year economic reform plan, when both are combined, can become a central driver for a turnaround of the global economy, and I hope that business leaders from the two nations will play key roles in that,” she said.

Following Park’s speech, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Korea for a two-day run from Monday, expressed his strong will to transform India into an investment destination.

“We are working aggressively for making India a very easy place to do business,“ he said.

The Indian prime minister encouraged the Korean business community to invest more in India at a time when Asia’s third largest economy seeks a goal of transforming into a global manufacturing hub by 2022 under the ``Make in India’’ campaign.

”Korea ranks only 14th in foreign direct investment flows into India. So potential for bilateral cooperation is vast,” Modi said.

In an effort to woo Korean investors, Modi agreed on Monday to launch negotiations to improve the bilateral trade pact signed in 2010, known as a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, by next year.

The Indian prime minister also gave assurance that he will pay personal attention if there are any issues hindering Korean investments, saying India is seeking collaboration with Korean businesses in such various sectors as IT, cars, electronics, steel making, railways, shipbuilding, housing and defense.

Before and after the Korea-India CEO Forum, Modi had one-on-one meetings with chiefs of Korean conglomerates to discuss investment projects and their pending business issues involving the Indian market.

In a meeting with Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo, he reportedly discussed comprehensive partnerships in a variety of sectors ranging from cars to railroad infrastructure building projects.

The Indian leader also separately met with Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, Samsung Electronics CEO Shin Jong-kyun, POSCO Chairman Kwon Oh-joon and LG Electronics Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon.

In the afternoon, he made a site visit to the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, in Ulsan, 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

India has sought partnerships with Korean shipbuilders, including Hyundai Heavy Industries, in an attempt to nurture its shipbuilding industry.

By Seo Jee-yeon  (