Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/11/2022 - 11:54





  1. India-Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations on 10 December 1973. Consular relations were established in 1962. Both countries formed  a  “Strategic Partnership” in year 2010, which was elevated to “Special Strategic Partnership” in year 2015 during the State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Seoul.


Historical Connect:

  1. According to the 13th century Korean historical text "SamgukYusa" or  “Heritage History of the Three Kingdoms", Princess Suriratna from Ayodhya, India came to Korea in the year 48 AD, married King Kim-Suro of the erstwhile Gaya Confederacy in ancient Korea and became Queen Heo Hwang-ok. Many Koreans trace their ancestry to this lineage. Some scholars believe that Buddhism reached Korea via the maritime route with the arrival of Princess Suriratna and her brother Monk Jangyu. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore composed a short but evocative poem titled– 'Lamp of the East' - in 1929 about Korea's glorious past and its promising bright future, which is fondly remembered by the Koreans and finds mention in Korean school textbooks.


India’s Role in Korean War

  1. India played an important role in the Korean peninsula after Korea's independence in 1945. Former Indian diplomat Shri K P S Menon was the Chairman of the 9-member UN Commission set up in 1947 to hold elections in Korea. India sent an Army medical unit - the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance comprising of 627 medical personnel, commanded by Lt. Col. A.G. Rangaraj during the Korean War as part of the UN Command, and treated about 220,000 patients. During the Korean War (1950-53), both the warring sides accepted a UN resolution sponsored by India, and the ceasefire was declared on 27 July 1953. Lt. General K.S. Thimayya of India, served as the Chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission [NNRC] after the armistice and contributed to resolving the humanitarian issues arising out of the War. India dispatched one Brigade Group designated as Custodian Forces -India (CFI) comprising 5230 personnel to Korea, under Major General SSP Thorat which was instrumental in resolving the Prisoners of War issue.

  2. In June 2020, PM Narendra Modi gave a video message during an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. An exhibition to commemorate India’s contribution to Korean War was co-organised in March 2022 by Embassy of India in Seoul.


High-Level Exchanges:

  1. PM Narendra Modi paid a State Visit to ROK from 18-19 May 2015, during which bilateral relationship was upgraded to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’. On the occasion of the State Visit of President Moon Jae-in to India on 08-11 July 2018, both countries issued a statement outlining a “Vision for People, Prosperity, Peace and our Future”. First Lady of ROK Ms. Kim Jung-sook visited India from November 04-07, 2018 as Guest of Honour for the “Deepotsav Festival” and participated in the ground breaking ceremony for construction of a memorial for Queen Suriratna at Ayodhya.

  2. PM Narendra Modi paid a State Visit to ROK from 21-22 February 2019 and unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the prestigious Yonsei University. PM Modi also gifted a Bodhi sapling to Gimhae City. He received the Seoul Peace Prize for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth. President Moon attended the special event in UN in September 2019 to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at the invitation of PM Modi. PM Modi and President Moon had telephonic conversations in April 2020 and October 2020 and discussed cooperation in tackling COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. PM Modi tweeted a congratulatory message on 11 March 2022 just after the election victory of H.E. Yoon Suk Yeol. They also had telephonic conversation on March 17, 2022. PM Modi also tweeted a congratulatory message after President Yoon’s inauguration (10 May 2022). He sent a condolence letter to President Yoon after the Itaewon crowd crush tragedy (30 Oct 2022). PM Modi had a brief interaction with President Yoon on the sidelines of G20 summit on November 15, 2022 in Bali. PM Modi virtually addressed the 2nd Summit for Democracy plenary session hosted by ROK on 29 March 2023. PM Narendra Modi and President Yoon Suk Yeol had their first in-person bilateral talks on the sidelines of G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan on 20 May 2023. Both leaders reaffirmed commitment to strengthen bilateral ties, and agreed to deepen cooperation in areas of trade & investments, high technology, IT hardware manufacturing, defence industry, semiconductors, and culture and P2P ties. They also discussed India’s G20 Presidency and ROK’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

  4. EAM and FM Park Jin held telephone conversation on 30 Jan 2023 and discussed ways to further develop bilateral relations as the two sides celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties in year 2023. Both Foreign Ministers held  discussions on  political contacts, trade & investments, defence, S&T, energy, space, semiconductors, emerging technologies and cultural exchanges during their bilateral meeting on 07 April 2023 in New Delhi. They also met on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings in Jakarta in July 2023. During the talks, EAM noted the upswing in  the India-ROK bilateral engagements. They also discussed cooperation in critical and emerging technologies.

  5. Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman visited ROK from  02-05 May 2023 to attend 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. On the sidelines, she held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Choo Kyung-ho, ROK Deputy PM & Minister of Economy and Finance at Incheon on 04 May 2023. A number of ROK Ministers and senior level officials have visited India to attend various G20 meetings and events being held under India’s Presidency.

  6. In addition, regular meetings of bilateral dialogue mechanisms such as Joint Commission Meeting (Ministerial), Joint Steering Committee meeting on S&T (Ministerial); Strategic Dialogue (Deputy NSA level), Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue (Secretary level), Policy Planning Dialogue (JS level), Consultations on Disarmament and Non-proliferation (JS level) etc. ensure high-level and functional engagements between the two countries.

  7. Mr. Vikram Misri, Deputy NSA visited ROK on 22-23 Aug 2023 for the 04th India-ROK DyNSA level Strategic Dialogue. The third edition was held in New Delhi in Dec 2021. DyNSA Mr. Misri met Dr. Kim Tae-hyo, 1st Deputy Director of National Security. They discussed enhancing cooperation in a wide range of bilateral areas including defence industry and technology, economic security and supply chain resilience, critical and emerging technologies, enhancing Korean investments in India, and S&T issues. DyNSA called on Foreign Minister Park Jin, NSA Cho Tae-yong and DAPA (Defence Acquisition Program Administration) Minister Eom Dong-hwan.

  8. Secretary (East) Amb Saurabh Kumar and 1st VFM Cho Hyundong co-chaired the 5th Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue (FPSD) on 16 Jan 2023 in Seoul. During the 5th FPSD, both sides agreed to enhance India–ROK Special Strategic Partnership by strengthening strategic communication through regular high-level engagements and agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including, trade and investment, security and defence, science and technology, as well as, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

  9. The 2nd Policy Planning Dialogue was held on 13 July 2023 in Delhi, co-chaired by Mr. Sumit Seth, Joint Secretary (PP&R), MEA, India and Mr. Jung Yeop Woo, DG-Strategy, MOFA, ROK. They discussed long-term trends & emerging opportunities in India-Korea relations, regional & global issues of mutual interest. Bilateral Civil Nuclear cooperation talks were held between Department of Atomic Energy and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on 21 July 2023 in Seoul. Discussions were held on nuclear cooperation, including nuclear power, capacity building and exchanges.

  10. Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do Mr. Lee Cheol-woo and the Governor of Gyeonggi-do Mr. Kim Dong-yeon visited India in May 2023 and in July 2023 respectively.


Parliamentary Exchanges:

  1. ROK Deputy Speaker Ms. Kim Young-joo visited India in October 2022 and met members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. A delegation from the ROK Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee of the National Assembly visited India in October 2022. A Parliamentary delegation led by Ms. Back hye-ryun, Chairperson of National Policy Committee, visited India from November 25 to December 02 2022 and had a meeting with MOS Mr. V. Muraleedharan. An ROK Parliamentary delegation led by former Unification Minister Mr. Lee in-young visited India in Dec 2022 and had a meeting with the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. The Speaker of National Assembly Chung Sye-kyun had visited India in March 2018. Two Indian Parliament members, Mr. Prabhakar Reddy Vemireddy and Mr. Jayant Kumar Roy visited ROK in June 2023 to attend the 20th General Assembly of Asia Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development. Hon’ble Lok Sabha Speaker transited through Seoul early July 2023.


Economic Relations:

  1. Trade and economic relations gathered momentum following the implementation of CEPA in 2010. Bilateral trade in 2022 reached record levels of US$ 27.8 billion. India’s import volume stands at US$ 18.8 billion, while the export volume is US$ 9 billion. Major items of India’s exports to Korea are mineral fuels/oil distillates (mainly naphtha), cereals, iron and steel. On the other hand, Korea’s main export items are automobile parts, telecommunication equipment, hot rolled iron products, petroleum refined products, base lubricating oils, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery & parts and iron and steel products.

  2. India and ROK launched an initiative ‘Korea Plus’ to promote and facilitate Korean investments in India. A Korea India SME and Start-up Centre was launched in September 2019 in Gurugram. According to data from Korea Exim Bank, ROK’s total FDI to India up to December 2022 stands at USD 7.77 billion. Investment from India to Korea are to the tune of approx. USD 5.2 billion led by Tata Daewoo and Aditya Birla Group (Novelis). In total, there are more than 600 large and small Korean firms operating in India. Tata Motors acquired Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company for USD 102 million in March 2004. The State Bank of India opened a branch in Seoul in January 2016 to provide wide range of services including loan services and project financing for Korean and Indian companies.  Six Korean Banks have branches in India.  These include KEB Hana, Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori, Nong Hyup and IBK.  The Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK) comprising Indian and Korean companies play a constructive role in promoting trade and investments linkages between the two countries.


Defence Relations:

  1. India and ROK defence relations have strengthened in recent years. The Defence Ministers of ROK and India have been interacting regularly since 2015. Secretary-level Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) for cooperation in defence industries & logistics between Korean Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) and  India’s Ministry of Defence is held regularly. Service level talks across the three arms of the military are held annually. Navy and Coast Guard ships have been visiting each other’s ports on a regular basis and have also been holding joint exercises. A Roadmap for Defence Industries Cooperation was signed between the two countries in September 2019. In recent exchanges, two ROK naval ships visited Chennai port in October 2022. Two Indian naval ships INS Shivalik and INS Kamorta visited Busan Naval Base in November 2022. Army Staff Talks were held in October 2022 in South Korea and Navy staff talks were held in April 2023 in New Delhi. The 11th High Level Meeting between the two Coast Guards was held in April 2023 in New Delhi. A delegation from National Defence College visited ROK during 04-09 June 2023 on a study tour.


Cultural Relations:

  1. An Indian Cultural Centre (renamed later as Swami Vivekananda Culture Centre (SVCC)) was established on July 1, 2011 as a cultural wing of the Embassy of India, Seoul. An India Centre for promotion of India focused activities in the Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS) was inaugurated on June 27, 2022. SARANG, the festival of India in Korea has been organised every year by the Embassy since 2015, to showcase India’s diverse art and music in various regions of ROK.

  2. A bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was unveiled in Seoul in May 2011. A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled at the Hongbeop-sa temple in Busan in July  2014. A Bodhi Tree sapling and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi installed at Yonsei University, Songdo Campus, Incheon were gifted by PM Modi during his State Visit to ROK in 2019. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was installed at the Yeonji Park in Gimhae, a section of which has been developed as India-Korea Friendship Park based on the life experiences of Mahatma Gandhi. As part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, a Korea-India Peace Park was unveiled on June 3, 2019 and 150 trees planted at the historic Independence Park, Seodaemun district in Seoul. A statue of Lord Buddha was gifted by ICCR to the Tongdo-sa Temple in May 2021. A group of around 100 Korean Buddhist monks of Jogye order, completed a 43 days walking pilgrimage to sacred Buddhist sites in India in February-March 2023.

  3. 9th International Day of Yoga Celebration event was held on 17 June 2023 at the iconic Olympic Park in Seoul where more than 600 yoga enthusiasts and practitioners joined in. IDoY events were also held in other cities viz. Gurye, Jeju, Busan and Gwangju in June 2023.


Indian Community:

  1. The total number of Indian nationals living in ROK is estimated to be around 15,000. A large number of Indian scholars are pursuing post-graduate and Ph.D programmes, mostly in pure sciences. During the past few years, many professionals mainly in the areas of IT, shipping and automobile have come to ROK. They are working mostly with companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai TATA Daewoo, TCS, Coupang etc. There are also significant number of Indian students and academicians in the universities. Several diaspora associations are active in South Korea.


September 2023