India and South Korea will discuss the entire gamut of defence ties and security scenario including Chinese aggressive posturing in the South China Sea during Army Chief General M M Naravane’s parleys with the Korean top brass during his three-day day visit to Seoul starting Monday.
The two countries are keen to further explore possibilities to forge joint ventures in defence production in India. Korea of late has emerged as a big supplier of military platforms and weapons to India. Naravane will take stock of these ties with the senior military and civilian leadership in Seoul, officials said here on Monday.
Both nations have a convergence of outlook in the strategic and defence realm. India’s “Act East Policy” finds resonance in the present Republic of Korea administration’s “New Southern Policy”.
The major areas of concern for South Korea are increasing Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea, security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) due to incidents of piracy and hostilities with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Seoul considers New Delhi as a stabilising influence in the Indian Ocean region, they said while highlighting the importance of the Army chief’s visit.
Incidentally, the Army Chief’s visit to South Korea comes two weeks after concluding a six-day crucial tour of the United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Saudi Arabia that reflected India’s growing strategic ties with the two influential Gulf nations. It was the first ever visit by an Indian army chief to Saudi Arabia.
Last month, Naravane travelled to Nepal on a three-day visit that had significant diplomatic over tones. In October, the Chief of Army Staff, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, travelled to Myanmar during which India decided to supply an attack submarine to the Myanmar Navy besides agreeing to further deepen military and defence ties.
Meanwhile, in Seoul, Naravane will meet the country’s minister for national defence, army chief and chairman of joint chiefs of staff. The Army chief will also meet South Korea’s minister of defence acquisition planning administration (DAPA).