Interaction with KIDA, a South Korean Think Tank
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Dr Cho Nam Hoon, Director, Korean Institute for Defence Analyses (KIDA), leading a three-member delegation, visited VIF on 17 Dec 2014 for an interaction on issues bearing strategic relevance to both India and South Korea. The delegation interacted extensively with members of VIF faculty across a wide spectrum of issues, inter alia, economic and defence cooperation between the two countries, the emerging power balance in Asia-pacific, and South Korea’s strategic compulsions. The discussions were held largely against the backdrop of a rising China and growing realisation amongst Asia-Pacific countries for multilateralism across political and economic spectrum. Some of the participants underlined the need for a regional cooperative security arrangement with the US taking a lead. The visiting delegation spelt out South Korea’s strategic compulsions to walk a diplomatic tightrope between a leading economic partner, China and a long term security ally, the US. While South Korea wants to expand its relations with China, it does not see the rising Asian power as a potential alliance partner, the visiting delegate maintained. Dr Cho, however, refused to see merit in ‘China threat’ theory while he underscored China’s potential for North Korea’s de-nuclearisation process. South Korea’s troubled relationship with Japan also formed part of the discussion, especially in the context of re-balancing strategy, with the VIF experts advising their counterparts from South Korea to get over historical legacies. Among other issues discussed comprehensively between the two sides were the emerging economic order in East Asia, global nuclear denuclearisation, and potential for the unification of two Koreas.

Setting the agenda for discussions earlier, General NC Vij, Director VIF, had underlined the increasing significance of Asia-Pacific countries for India’s ‘Act East’ policy. He expressed satisfaction that despite a lukewarm relationship in the past, South Korea and India have gradually moved closer to each other in recent years, evidenced by the growing number of bilateral exchanges at the highest political level. He said while both countries already enjoy a robust economic partnership, the need, however, is to take bilateral defence cooperation to the next higher level. Reciprocating General Vij’s sentiments, Dr Cho urged that both countries jointly identify areas of specific cooperation between the two nations. It emerged from the interaction that while there may have been divergence of views on certain issues, there is increasing desire between the two countries for closer cooperation on a whole range of other issues. The role of Track-II diplomacy in furthering bilateral relationship between the two Asian countries was also highlighted during the discussion. Director VIF thanked the delegation for their visit to the VIF and wished to carry the dialogue process forward.

Event Date 
December 17, 2014
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