What is the issue?
- The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in’s visit to Delhi is of significance to India.
- It offers scope for India’s role in reconciliation between the North and the South Koreas.
What are the recent developments?
- Talks between US Secretary of State and his hosts in North Korea ended in accusations.
- This has impacted the American diplomacy on denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.
- America demands for a quick and comprehensive denuclearisation of North Korea.
- However, North Korea’s agenda on political and military trust building is a challenge.
- On the other hand, South Korean President is particular of reconciliation between the two Koreas.
- Amidst this, Moon’s visit to Delhi offers possibility for strengthening India’s role in the Korean Peninsula.
How did India become a part of this?
- War – Independent India played a significant role in the Korean Peninsula.
- This was especially in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
- India also maintained diplomatic relations with the North and South during the Cold War.
- Economy – With 1991 economic reforms, South Korea became an important participant in India’s economy.
- Russia and China also increased their collaboration with South Korea for economic gains.
- North Korea – Resultantly, the socialist North Korea was increasingly isolated.
- It looked for making up for the loss of its old communist allies.
- It thus started focussing on developing nuclear capability.
- Pakistan – Eventually, the Indian Subcontinent became a part of North Korea’s strategy.
- North Korea’s atomic quest found convergences with that of Pakistan.
- North Korea and Pakistan thus stepped up their nuclear and missile cooperation.
- Certainly, this strained the India’s relationship with North Korea.
What could India’s role now be?
- India is now in a position to develop a more strategic view of the Korean Peninsula.
- South Korean President is increasingly seeking reconciliation with the North
- there is much international scepticism about the prospects for this peace
- Given this, Indian support for reconciliation would be of great political value to South Korea.
- Importantly, it will align Delhi with the long-term interests of the Korean people.
- For, they had been the victims of troubles in the divided peninsula over the last 7 decades.
What are the possible challenges?
- The post-Cold War Asian landscape is shifting.
- The relations between major powers – US, Russia, China and Japan – are strained.
- This is a new challenge that Asia had not to deal with in decades.
- Meanwhile, prosperity brought by globalisation to Asia over the recent decades is under stress.
- Measures against free trade and open borders, by the Western leaders are contributing to this.
What lies ahead?
- South Korea has announced a “New Southern Policy”.
- This looks beyond Northeast Asia to focus on Southeast Asia, Australia and India.
- Likewise, India’s Act East policy now has a much wider coverage, the Indo-Pacific.
- These strategies should be taken forward, to reap the benefits of geopolitical developments.
- With global trade war unfolding, Delhi and Seoul have an urgent need to liberalise the bilateral trade relations.
- The two sides also need to focus on expanding bilateral security and defence cooperation.
- They should work with other countries to promote a stable Asian balance of power system.
Source: Indian Express
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