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India aiming for security & economic goals in N Korea; still not a big player there: China media

By Shubham

China's Global Times came up with yet another report analysing the role that India is aiming to play in the Korean Peninsula affairs by sending its Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh to North Korea in the third week of May.

In a piece titled 'India seeks major power status by pivot to NK' authored by an expert on international affairs, it was argued that India's decision to send a high-level diplomat to the hermit kingdom after a long time (North Korean foreign minister had visited New Delhi in 2015 which saw the highest-level North Korean official coming to India in more than three decades) had two main purposes to serve.

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh

First, India wanted to get assurance from North Korea ahead of the scheduled meeting between his supreme leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump that Pyongyang will not join hands with Pakistan in developing nuclear weapons, something which New Delhi perceives as a serious threat to its security. India believes since 1999 that it was North Korea which provided ballistic missile technology and components to Pakistan, jeopardising its security and the regional stability, the Global Times report said.

"Apparently, India doesn't want to see North Korea assist its enemy, Pakistan, in nuclear and missile development, but New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty or Missile Technology Control Regime, and thus has no right to criticize North Korea. Now, Pyongyang has announced its pursuit of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will negotiate with Washington on the issue. This is a good chance for India to address its core concern, as North Korea, to ensure the success of talks with the US, will surely make some pledges on denuclearization," the piece said.

It said the Indian aim was fulfilled as it claimed North Korea as pledging not to do things that could hurt India's security concerns.

Singh's second visit, according to the Global Times, was to enable India to enter North Korea's market. Kim recently vowed that his country would make all efforts on socialist economic construction and being Pyongyang's third largest trading partner, New Delhi is not ready to give up the opportunity to realise the potential of trade with the isolated country which has opted for the paths of peace and development. India had to impose restrictions on trade with North Korea after the UN sanctioned Pyongyang over its nuclear ambitions but with the ambience looking lighter, India has shown its eagerness to tap North Korea's rich natural resources that have got attention of the outside world.

"Singh's visit has won India some advantage in future economic cooperation with North Korea," the Global Times piece said.

It said Singh's visit also promoted India's Act East Policy but didn't boost its major power status as many had hoped

"It's unknown whether the Indian government, by sending Singh to North Korea, intends to exercise influence on the peninsula's peace process so as to showcase its status as a major power. But since Singh wasn't received by Kim, it indicates that Pyongyang doesn't regard New Delhi a key player in the peninsula standoff," it said.

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