You are here

Abhishek Kumar asked: Is India planning to intervene in the present situation in the Korean Peninsula? What is India’s stance on the issue?

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Pranamita Baruah replies: India, as of now, is not planning to intervene in the ongoing impasse between the two Koreas. In fact, so far, it has been emphasising that the tensions between the two should be resolved by peaceful means at the bilateral level.

    In early April this year, an Indian Foreign Ministry delegation led by Gautam Bambawale, head of the East Asia division in the ministry, went on a two-day long trip to North Korea. The unusual visit amidst the ongoing tensions in the Korean Peninsula led many to believe that India is gradually tilting towards North Korea. However, that seems to be an exaggeration. The Indian Foreign Ministry has already made it clear that Bambawale’s visit was scheduled ‘well in advance’ with the purpose of discussing with his North Korean counterpart the issues pertaining to the India-North Korea bilateral relationship and the current security environment in the East Asian region. Moreover, it was not India alone that had sent a delegation to North Korea in recent times. In May itself, the Japanese Government had sent Isao Ijima, a special adviser to the Japanese cabinet, on a four-day long trip to North Korea. Thus, India was not an exception in sending its diplomats to North Korea recently.

    It should be also kept in mind that India has strong bilateral relationship with South Korea. In recent years, India’s growing relationship with the US, an alliance partner of South Korea, seems to have strengthened New Delhi-Seoul relationship further. Since the time both India and South Korea negotiated CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) in 2010, volumes of bilateral trade and investments have been growing rapidly, reaching more than $20 billion and $4 billion, respectively, in 2011. South Korea’s former President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to India (2010) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to South Korea (2012) elevated the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership. After the signing of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries in 2011, the bilateral relationship has reached a new height.

    Under the circumstances, it will be quite unrealistic to assume that India will compromise its strong relationship with South Korea by siding with North Korea. Such steps will not only strain the India-South Korea ties, but also the India-US relationship. Moreover, the long drawn Pakistan-North Korea strategic missile linkage has been of strong security concern to India. This also restrains India from developing strong bilateral relationship with North Korea. Thus, for now, India takes a neutral stance on the Korean issue.