Seoul, Dec 29: Calling South Korea an important partner for India's economic growth, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday invited Korean companies to make "bold investments" and benefit from the 'Make in India' initiative of the government.
In her address at the 8th India-South Korea Joint Commission Meeting, Swaraj said Korea and Korean companies occupy a strategic place in India's 'Act East' initiative and that there was huge scope for greater investment in the country, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
Seeking to boost trade ties to realise the target of $40 billion bilateral annual trade by next year, Swaraj said Korean companies like Hyundai, Samsung and LG have become household names in India.
"My Government attaches importance to relations with Republic of Korea. We see you as an important partner for our economic growth. Korea and Korean companies occupy a strategic place in India's 'Act East' initiative," she said.
The Joint Commission meeting was co-chaired by Swaraj and her South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se. In the meeting, the two leaders agreed that development of cooperation in the field of defence equipment and technology, as well as, sectors like shipbuilding, electronics, IT, energy and infrastructure held considerable possibilities.
They reiterated mutual interest in deepening cooperation in the areas of civil nuclear energy and cyber security. The two Ministers also agreed to step-up exchanges between officials and academics of the two sides.
"We would like to see a new form of connectivity between our two countries through cross-border production networks," the External Affairs Minister said. "We need to work together to realise the fuller potential of bilateral trade. We had set a target of $40 billion by 2015. To achieve this target, our companies need to take full advantage of our economic complementarities and leverage the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement," she said.
Currently 300 Korean companies have invested approximately $3 billion and have employed nearly 40,000 people in India. The current bilateral annual trade between the two countries is about $16 billion.
Indian companies have invested around $2 billion in South Korea and some of the leading names who acquired Korean companies are Tatas, Mahindra and Aditya Birla Group. India-South Korea Joint Commission for bilateral cooperation was established in February 1996, which is chaired by the External Affairs Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Korean side.