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  • US-North Korea Summit: Singapore Round Goes to Chairman Kim

    The summit brought out ambiguities in America’s policy towards denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula. To translate outcomes of the summit into concrete deliverables, Trump administration would not only have to clearly define its denuclearisation action plan in terms of goals, methodology and timeline but also bolster its alliance with South Korea and Japan.

    June 19, 2018

    Historic Summit at Panmunjom

    While the recent Korean Summit marks the beginning of the new era, to achieve lasting peace will require intense diplomatic efforts.

    May 04, 2018

    Korea’s Cultural Diplomacy: An Analysis of the Hallyu in India

    Korea’s rapid economic transformation from being one of the poorest countries during the 1950s to becoming a member of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1996 surprised the world, and is often considered the ‘Miracle on the Han River’. Within a period of a few decades, Korea became an economic powerhouse and one of the largest producers and exporters of steel, ships, automobiles, cell phones, etc. In recent years Hallyu or the ‘Korean Wave’ has taken the world by surprise.

    November 2017

    The North Korean Nuclear Conundrum

    A rational decision maker in the White House does not have all options on the table and cannot start a war without South Korea’s consent. Diplomacy is the only option and this is as obvious as obvious can be.

    May 03, 2017

    North Korea: An Advance Frontier of India’s “Act East”?

    North Korea: An Advance Frontier of India’s “Act East”?

    Recent developments in India-North Korea relations make it an opportune time for India to devise a new approach for its engagement with the Korean Peninsula that will help redefine its Act East policy.

    December 01, 2015

    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?

    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

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

    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.

    The Korean Imbroglio

    North Korea’s uranium enrichment programme has made the US jittery and is not totally confident of reopening the six-party talks. Washington needs assurances regarding North Korea’s future nuclear programmes and the key to finding a solution to the present stalemate lies with Beijing.

    April 25, 2013

    Rising Instability and Regional Naval Modernisation in East Asia

    Considering the complementary interests and interdependencies at stake between China and Japan as also their individual aspirations of nation building through peace and stability, a clash over the Senkakus would only result in a ‘lose-lose’ outcome.

    November 02, 2012

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