India and South Korea Thursday agreed to enhance cooperation in cyber security, space, defence and commerce, even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the work on the long-delayed Posco steel plant will start in coming weeks.
After the talks between Singh and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, he said negotiations for revision of the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention have concluded. “We have just concluded wide-ranging discussion on matters of bilateral interest and regional and global importance. This has enabled us to impart further substance, greater content and new momentum to the strategic partnership between our two countries,” Manmohan Singh said at a joint media event with Park.
He said both the leaders have decided to establish an annual interaction between the “national security structures” of the two countries besides agreeing to launch a Cyber Affairs Dialogue.
“I am happy that the large-scale Posco steel project in Orissa is set to be operational in the coming weeks, following the revalidation of its environmental clearance. Grant of mining concession for the project is also at an advanced stage of processing. I conveyed to President Park our hope that this project will confirm that economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand,” the PM said.
Expressing satisfaction over outcome of the talks, Park said she has requested Singh to allow South Korean banks to operate in India. She also said there has been scope for enhancing cooperation in defence sector.
During the talks, both the sides recognised the possibility of defence trade and joint production of military equipment by further promoting collaboration between our defence research organisations.
The PM hoped the agreement on protection of classified military information signed will also boost defence engagement between the two countries. The Prime Minister said India has also decided to extend “tourist visa on arrival facility” to South Korean people.
“In the area of science and technology, our collaboration has been highly rewarding, with many practical projects being financed through the $10 million Joint Fund that we established in 2010,” he said.
On the MoU on Joint Applied Research, which was inked after the summit-level talks, Singh said it will enable the scientists of the two countries to work together. “We are also stepping up collaboration in the peaceful uses of space science and technology,” he said.
The Prime Minister said India has also decided to extend “tourist visa on arrival facility” to South Korean people to increase people-to-people contacts and was also exploring the possibility of better civil aviation links.
The parties concerned have been directed to submit reports on the current status of construction.