India's Role for the Koreas

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.
  • For,
  1. South Korean President is increasingly seeking reconciliation with the North
  2. 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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