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S. Korean, Indian defense chiefs sign 'roadmap' for arms industry cooperation

All News 10:36 February 05, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, held talks in New Delhi where they pledged closer defense industry cooperation, Jeong's office said Wednesday.

During the meeting held on Tuesday, the two ministers finalized the "roadmap for defense industry cooperation," which calls for enhanced cooperation in a wide range of defense industry fields, including research and development, according to the ministry.

Under the roadmap, India also vows to ease regulations on South Korean defense firms advancing in the South Asian country in accordance with its "Make In India" policy, and the two countries agreed to set up a task force in charge of the implementation of the agreement.

It was first suggested by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 when he met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"Minister Singh expects this roadmap to open a new chapter for bilateral cooperation in arms industries and pledged to actively support Korean firms in India," the ministry said in a release.

Jeong and Singh also agreed to make efforts to further ramp up their defense cooperation by pushing for such projects as holding vice ministerial talks and exchanged opinions regarding joint exercises, among others, the ministry said.

South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, ahead of bilateral talks in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 4, 2020, in this photo provided by Seoul's defense ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

During the talks, Jeong asked for India's continued backing to induce North Korea to return to dialogue toward its denuclearization and a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In response, the Indian minister expressed his government's continued commitment to those peace efforts.

Jeong is in India for a four-day official visit that started Monday.

During his stay, he is also planning to attend DEFEXPO 2020, one of Asia's largest defense expos, set for Feb. 5-9 in the Indian city of Lucknow, according to his ministry.

The defense expo is expected to bring together some 700 companies from around 30 countries, including 12 South Korean firms.

The minister will also visit an Indian hospital and hold events for Indian veterans who took part in the 1950-53 Korean War to express gratitude for their role.

On the outbreak of the war, India sent its 60th Parachute Field Ambulance Platoon of 627 medics, who took care of 220,000 soldiers and civilians, according to government data.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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