Close on the heels of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s visit, a high level delegation, led by defence minister Song Young-moo, is arriving to India early next month.
Military exchanges, training and experience sharing, and research and development, including innovative technologies for mutual benefit and joint defence manufacturing, will top the agenda of talks between Song Young-moo and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman,” source told FE.
A former navy admiral, Song is also expected to interact with defence PSU shipyards such as Hindustan Shipyard and Goa Shipyard as Korean firms have evinced interest in a number of shipbuilding projects.
Proposed induction of trainer aircraft KT-1 of Korean Aircraft Industries in the Indian Air Force will also be discussed.
Both countries have concluded a pact on shipbuilding, which was agreed upon during Modi’s visit to Seoul in 2015 when the two countries had upgraded their relationship to a ‘special strategic partnership’. Modi had visited Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard and expressed hope that Korean expertise would soon benefit Indian shipyards.
As reported earlier by FE, Hindustan Shipyard and Hyundai Heavy Industries have been in talks for joint construction of fleet support ships with modern techniques at about Rs 10,000 crore.
Goa Shipyard is in talks with Kangnam Corporation for 12 mine counter measure vessels (MCMVs) as the Indian Navy needs to swiftly scale up its mine warfare capability. Kangnam Corporation recently responded to the Ministry of Defence’s expression of interest for MCMVs to be built by Goa Shipyard. The approximate cost of the project is Rs 32,640 crore. These vessels are to be built under ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Both sides agreed to further explore possibilities to coordinate efforts in the defence and strategic spheres to benefit from each other’s unique capabilities and experience. In this context, Republic of Korea and India will enhance military exchanges, training and experience sharing, and research and development, including innovative technologies, for mutual benefit. We also agreed to encourage our defence industries to intensify cooperation in this regard,” the joint statement issued at the end of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent visit to India said. Last year, L&T signed a contract with Hanwha Techwin for jointly building 100 self-propelled artillery guns worth Rs 5,000 crore in India.
The K-9 Vajra-T that L&T and Hanwha Techwin will build is a 155 mm, 52 calibre gun, mounted on a tracked, armoured vehicle. Artillery units equipped with this gun will be a part of the Army’s strike corps, whose tank spearheads need artillery guns that can keep pace with them.