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President to visit South Korea, Mongolia


President Pratibha Patil
New Delhi, July 23: As part of country's look east policy, President Pratibha Patil will embark on a week-long visit of Korea and Mongolia from on Sunday, Jul 24 to further bilateral relations with both the nations.

Patil will be visiting Korea between July 24-26 and Mongolia from July 27-30. Korea with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about USD one trillion is spread in about 99,327 square km area, approximately 12 per cent larger than West Bengal, and has 48.7 million population.

The country has a per capita income of USD 20,000 and is surrounded by China to the east and north, North Korea to the north and Japan to the east and south. The trade between India and Korea has touched the mark of USD 17 billion in 2010.

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Korea is home to various Information Technology companies and home appliances giants including LG, Samsung and Daewoo among others.

New Delhi's strategic relationship with Seoul was cemented following South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's strategic visit here in January 2010. He was also the chief guest during the Republic Day celebration last year.

A Joint Task Force is functional to conclude a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was signed in 2009 and came in force from January last year, to explore avenues and boost trade ties among others.

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The President will also strongly pitch for civil nuclear cooperation with her Korean counterpart during the visit.

The Indian community in Seoul is estimated to be about 8,000 and over 1,000 IT professionals or engineers are working in Korea. Besides, about 500 Indian scientists or post- doctoral research scholars are working in that country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in October last year met Korean President in East Asian Summit in Hanoi and again in November 2010 when he went to Seoul to attend G-20 meet.

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After upgrading Ambassador-level relations in 1973, Seoul endeavours towards political liberalisation and democratisation have boosted relations with New Delhi by creating a common ground with India''s own economic liberalisation and Look East Policy.

An Indian Cultural Centre has also been established in Korea in April this year.

Apart from holding talks with her counterpart, Patil will meet business delegates to further mutual relations.

She will also pay floral tributes at the statue of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Seoul on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary. The statue was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar during her visit to that country in May this year.


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