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Manohar Parrikar woos South Korean defence firms

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian defence industry is likely to see US$ 250 billion worth of business over the next decade, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said as he invited South Korean firms to make full use of 'Make-in-India' initiative.

Parrikar, who addressed an India-Korea Defence Industry Forum in Seoul, outlined the policy changes being brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to facilitate investment in defence sector.

He said the time had come for South Korean defence firms to take advantage of the high brand value enjoyed by Korean-made products in India and to enter the defence market as partners for the long-term.

In the presentations, it was also noted that the ongoing internal process of further streamlining India's defence procurement policies would be completed in less than three months, an official statement said indicating that the new procurement policy will be delayed further.

Detailed presentations were made regarding business opportunities for South Korean defence firms by senior management of Indian defence firms including Goa Shipyards, Bharat Electronics, Mahindra Defence, L&T and Tata Power SED.

Parrikar also met the top management of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and invited them to become strategic partners for India's defence and commercial shipping sectors.

The Minister, who is in South Korea on an official visit, also took a tour of the country's ninth largest corporation, Hanwha.

In its 63-year history, this firm has become a Korean leader in ordnance, fuzes, precision guided systems, sensors and aerospace.

In the detailed site visit facilitated by Hanwha President Shim, Parrikar invited Hanwha to participate in the Make-in-India programme, taking into account the enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial business, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Parrikar also met South Korean Admiral Choi, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Minister Chang of the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) and National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin before being received by Defence Minister Han Min-koo at a ceremonial reception at the Ministry of Defence in Seoul.

During the meeting with Admiral Choi, the two sides discussed existing bilateral defence relations.

Both sides recognized that the relationship was one in which there are no obstacles to realizing the significant potential for military-to-military ties.

In the meeting with Minister Chang at DAPA, the two sides recognized that their shared perspectives on regional and international issues created a firm foundation for cooperation in defence production, research and development, the statement said.

Parrikar emphasized that in recognition of the importance India attaches to South Korea as a partner, he had chosen to make the country the destination for his first visit under the "Make-in-India" campaign.

Both sides agreed to enhance their efforts to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships in defence production.

At the meeting with NSA Kim, the two leaders discussed regional and global issues of peace and security.

They also discussed ways of intensifying bilateral cooperation in security and defence and considered ways to enhance these ties in a manner more commensurate with close strategic partners.

Parrikar and his counterpart Han focussed in particular on ways of expanding contact between the defence establishments of both sides and ways of building deep partnerships between Indian and South Korean defence industries.

The Defence Minister will leave for India on April 18, after a final round of one-to-one meetings with South Korean defence industries and an informal meeting with the Indian IIT alumni association in South Korea.

In all his meetings, the visiting Defence Minister offered sincere condolences on the first anniversary of the Sewol ferry disaster in April 2014, in which over 300 lives were lost.

The Minister also paid tribute to the achievements of the Korean people in building a prosperous democracy, thereby realizing the prophetic words of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore that Korea would be the "shining light of the East", an official statement said.


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