6th India-Korea Business Partnership Forum

  • 10 Nov 2023

The recently held 6th India-Korea Business Partnership Forum marked a significant milestone, celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and the Republic of Korea.

Key Points

  • Dignitaries Convene to Celebrate Enduring Partnership: Distinguished delegates and dignitaries gathered in New Delhi to discuss the enduring business partnership between India and the Republic of Korea.
  • Ambassador Chang Commends Bilateral Relations: The Republic of Korea's Ambassador to India congratulated India for the successful G20 summit and praised the strong bilateral relations between the two nations.
  • Strong Economic Ties and Growing Korean Presence in India: Korean Ambassador noted the strengthening economic ties and the presence of over 600 Korean companies in India.
  • He emphasized the positive direction of relations, the benefits of India's role in the global supply chain, and cooperation in sectors like finance, logistics, online gaming, hydrogen, and electric vehicles.

India-South Korea Relations Overview

  • Recent Advancements: India-South Korea relations have witnessed significant progress in recent years, driven by the alignment of India’s Act East Policy (AEP) and South Korea’s New Southern Policy (NSP).

The Vision of the New Southern Policy

  • Policy Objectives: The Korean government's NSP aims to strengthen ties with ASEAN and India, positioning them as key partners in the southern region. It seeks to elevate these partnerships to the level of Korea's traditional major diplomatic partners and emphasizes the "3P community" – People, Prosperity, and Peace.
  • Multilateral Framework: The NSP responds to shifts in global priorities, such as the U.S.’s focus on domestic concerns and China’s expanding influence. It strives to build a multilateral economic and diplomatic framework.

Bilateral Relations

  • Establishment: Bilateral relations between India and South Korea were established in 1962, reaching Ambassador-level in 1973. The partnership has become multidimensional, characterized by shared interests, goodwill, and high-level exchanges.
  • Strategic Partnership: The ties were elevated to a 'Special Strategic Partnership' during PM Modi’s visit to South Korea in May 2015, with President Moon's visit marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
  • Strategic Cooperation: Both nations collaborate in areas such as the Indian Ocean region, reinforcing bilateral cooperation.

Why India is Important for South Korea

  • Strategic Significance: South Korea views India as strategically important, particularly in light of geopolitical shifts and challenges with China and America.
  • Diversification: With economic challenges and dependence on China, South Korea aims to diversify and sees India as a key market for growth.
  • Cooperation in Development: Collaboration with India is essential for projects in third countries, exemplified by capacity-building programs in Afghanistan.

Commercial Relations

  • Trade and Investment: India and South Korea share a robust trade and investment relationship. Economic engagement forms the core of their ties, with significant investments from Korean majors like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia in India.
  • Economic Imperatives: Both countries face economic imperatives, and their collaboration has the potential to address deficiencies in core technologies.


  • China’s Rise: Both nations share concerns about China's assertiveness and electronic presence in India.
  • Trust and Business Relations: Despite a formal strategic partnership, there are challenges in building trust between the business communities of India and South Korea.
  • Indo-Pacific Focus: While India has adopted an Indo-Pacific approach, Korea has not been at the forefront of India's regional priorities in Asia.
  • Trade Deficit: India has expressed concerns about a significant trade deficit of $50 billion with South Korea.