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Hariom Singh Dagur asked: How does “deep cultural” understanding as stated in January 2014 India-Republic of Korea Joint Statement affect relations among the two countries?

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  • Rup Narayan Das replies: Cultural relations along with historical and traditional relations have always been a very important aspect of relations between and among nations. These are very important attributes of soft power too. By culture, in this context, we broadly mean religious and philosophical contacts and intercourse between two countries both in historical background and also in contemporary context. These are the feel good factors and are like icing on the cake. Cultural aspect may also refer to sharing common norms, such as liberal and familial values. We also talk of strategic culture suggesting convergence of shared security interests. In the comprehensive Indo-Korean relations, all these are present to a great extent.
    After the advent of Buddhism in the Korean Peninsula, cultural contacts between India and Korea were nurtured by Buddhist monks. A sizeable number of Korean spiritual seers and saints came to India from the sixth century onwards in search of Buddhist manuscripts and scriptures. Several Indian monks also travelled to Korea after spending a few years in China. Rabindranath Tagore also made a lasting impact on the Korean psyche and continues to be a source of inspiration to the Korean people even today. In normative and strategic terms, there is great degree of convergence between India and South Korea in particular. India’s contribution towards resolving the crisis in the Korean Peninsula is internationally acknowledged.

    For further details, please refer to the following publication:

    Skand R. Tayal, India and the Republic of Korea: Engaged Democracies, Routledge, 2014.

    Posted on April 09, 2014