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India, South Korea Sign Five Year Defense Co-operation MOU

India and South Korea today signed  MOUs For five-year defence cooperation  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 RK Dhowan, Army lieutenant
general KT 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 sai
d.

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.