Jaishankar’s Korea Visit Set to Enhance Diaspora Ties


The nation is home to around 15,000 Indians with many professionals contributing to the country’s IT, shipping, and automobile sectors….reports Asian Lite News

Continuing with his endeavours to further cement India’s relations with its diaspora, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is set to meet the small but significant Indian community in the Republic of Korea as he begins his first visit to Seoul on March 5.

While one is well aware of the Korea-based Indian actor Anupam Tripathi who became a household name after ‘Squid Games’, the nation is home to around 15,000 Indians with many professionals contributing to the country’s IT, shipping, and automobile sectors.

Some other notable Indian names in the country include Aria, originally named Gauthami, a member of a global K-pop girl group called X:IN.

The visit of EAM Jaishankar, who has always thanked and praised the diaspora while calling them ambassadors of India, comes at a time when a significant number of Indians are choosing the nation as a study-abroad destination.

According to recent MEA estimates, more than 1,300 Indian students are studying in South Korea and a large number of them are pursuing post-graduate and Ph.D programmes, mostly in pure sciences.

With popular education destinations like the UK and Canada tightening immigration rules, many Indian students are considering Korea owing to its quality education, affordable tuition fees, and the cost of living.

For instance, a Korean D-2 Student Visa permits working up to 20 hours per week and after graduation, students can apply for a D-10 visa and start looking for jobs.

In September last year, Minister Lim Sang Woo (Deputy Head of Mission), Embassy of the Republic of Korea, said Korea is keen on more students, researchers, and highly skilled workers, and aims to attract 3,00,000 international students by 2027.

The two countries were also exploring a new migration agreement last year to ensure easier mobility for professionals of the two countries across a range of areas including technology and automobiles.

With EAM Jaishankar co-chairing the 10th India – Republic of Korea Joint Commission Meeting with his counterpart Cho Tae-yul, it is likely that these issues will come up for discussion.

The meeting is expected to comprehensively review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation and explore avenues for further strengthening it.

According to an MEA release, the meeting will also provide an opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The Indian community was also addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited the nation in 2019 where he said that the main basis for India-Korea relations is “people-to-people contact”.

Extolling the Indian community in the Republic, PM Modi had said that they not only celebrate Holi, Diwali, Baisakhi and other Indian festivals but also involve their Korean friends in it.

“The blood flowing in the people of Korea also has part of India,” the PM had said amid claps and cheers from the community as he recounted the story of Indian princess Suriratna who married a Korean king.

‘India-S Korea FTA Upgrade Likely This Year’

The negotiations on the expansion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and South Korea are likely to conclude in 2024, said Chang Jae-bok, the South Korean envoy here on Wednesday.

The Republic of Korea and India signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2009. The two nations are negotiating the expansion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and have so far held several rounds of discussions.

In a press conference, Chang said the last round of talks took place in January.

“On the bilateral trade front, efforts are underway to expedite negotiations for the expansion of CEPA, signed in 2010. During the last round of talks in January, this year, negotiators from both sides showcased a shared commitment to conclude negotiations within this year,” Chang said.

South Korea is hoping that the negotiations will conclude before the possible visit of Yoon Suk Yeol, the South Korean President, to India.

“So hopefully, the negotiation on CEPA will conclude before a bilateral visit by our president. (the visit will) probably (be) after the elections in India; there is also an election in Korea,” he said.

India has asked South Korea to renegotiate the CEPA to make the trade more balanced and equitable.

In July last year, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that the pact has been often discussed in the context that the Indian industry has failed to benefit from the agreements and the gains have mostly been one-sided.

India’s trade deficit with South Korea rose to US dollar 14.57 billion in FY23 from US dollar 9.39 billion a year ago.

Reflecting on India’s concern vis-a-vis CEPA, the envoy said: “The negotiations on free trade agreements are generally very difficult…. Some parts of the industry will have losses, and some parts of the industry will gain from (the CEPA). However, during the last round of negotiations, we found willingness to conduct the talks soon.”

Meanwhile, Indian and South Korean foreign ministers will chair the joint trade commission meeting on March 6 in Seoul.

During the meeting between the foreign ministers, regional and global issues might come up, the envoy mentioned.

“The South Korea-India Trade Commission meeting is scheduled for March 6 in Seoul. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs and his Korean counterpart, Cho Tae-yul, will co-chair this meeting. We anticipate discussions of high-level exchanges, defence, economic issues, science and technology, and people-to-people with key regional issues,” the envoy told reporters. (ANI)

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