Recently, a six-member delegation of BJP led by party National General Secretary Shri Muralidhar Rao, visited South Korea. The visit took place from 14 October to 20 October, 2019. The members of delegation included BJP National Spokesperson Dr. Vijay Sonkar Shastri, Shri Umesh Ji Jadhav, National Convener of BJP Foreign Affairs Department Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale, Director of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation Dr. Anirban Ganguly and BJP Foreign Affairs Department member Dr. Ashwin Johar.
BJP National General Secretary Shri Muralidhar Rao in an interaction with Sanjiv Sinha, Associate Editor, Kamal Sandesh told about the delegation’s visit to South Korea and the main purpose behind this visit. Excerpts of the conversation.
A BJP delegation visited South Korea recently. What was the purpose of this visit ?
The main purpose of this visit was to promote better relations between India and South Korea at the party level. South Korea is one among four countries in East Asia which is doing well on financial front and have significantly successful economy in last five decades. During the last few years South Korea has been established as a trade surplus country. By exporting, strengthening the economy, continuously increasing the growth rate, ending the poverty there, adopting very high standards of education and increasing the per capita income by 30-35 thousand dollars, South Korea has established itself as an extremely successful and developed country.
In the last two decades South Korea has adopted a very successful democratic model and streamlined the political system. Therefore, in the coming days the political and economic relationship between India and South Korea must be mutually beneficial. In view of our Look-East policy, which is promoted by the government under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modiji, a seven-member delegation visited the country for 6 days to understand the country, enhancing the dialogue, exploring future possibilities for relationships and laying the foundation for relationships. I claim this visit as a very successful one indeed.
During this visit what kind of programs were held in South Korea?
The Korea Foundation has organized all our programs. We had personal and group interactions with the important leaders of ruling Liberal Party and leaders of Conservative Party which is the opposition party in South Korea. We had a discussion on political issues, bilateral issues and the complexities involved in the relationships with the different countries with them. We met the members of the National Assembly. Apart from this, we met all the important Think Tanks on Policy issues.
The delegation also visited Tungado monastery, which is believed to fourteen hundred years old monastery of Buddhism. We also met the prominent religious leaders and had lunch and dialogue with them. Apart from this we met representatives of different industry which are important for India and hold significance in South Korea like Hyundai, Samsung, Pasco and Danku. We also met industrialists and economists. Even we went to the media houses there. The delegation also met with the different important people of the society, and discussed various topics in a planned manner.
South Korea declared India as its ‘Special Strategic Partner’. Please explain the trade and economic relations developing between the two countries ?
Look, after adopting liberalization in 1991, the government of that time announced the ‘Look-East Policy’. And thereafter we started to expend our relationship and during the Atalji’s government the things picked up pretty fast in this direction. Now especially after Modi ji’s government formed at the centre, both the President of South Korea and the Prime Minister of India shared a warm relationship. There mutual trust and chemistry witnessing a new high.
Being a trade surplus country, they have very good capital to invest; and we are looking forward to utilize this opportunity. And on economic front, they are investing in many industries here, the numbers of their investment increased significantly. The trade between the two countries reached 21 billion dollars. We will move ahead in terms of reducing our trade deficit by strengthening our trade relationships with Korea in agriculture sector, space research, security, agriculture, organic foods and culture. We will prepare and handed over a report in this regard to the government and BJP National Party President.
Recently Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that South Korea is a role model for India, why?
The Prime Minister said this because both the countries got the freedom almost at the same time; India in 1947 and South Korea got separated in 1945. And now after so many years South Korea has become an industrial and technologically powerful despite of all the challenges. Within the last five decades, they came in line with the world’s leading countries. We have to learn a lot from South Korea. So, he rightly said that South Korea is like a role model for India.
What is the perception of common people in South Korea about India?
South Korea has 20-25 percent population follows the Buddhism. They see India as their place of pilgrimage, Buddha’s birthplace, Karmabhoomi, Tapobhoomi. Therefore, they understand our natural importance and have respect for India.
Apart from this, 8 to 10 percent of the population is firm believer of Surname Kim. It is believed that the population bearing this Kim surname is related to Ayodhya. So even today, they share emotional and cultural relationships with India. The Koreans have great respect for the poem written by the Rabindranath Tagore which lauded the rebirth of South Korea and play a decisive role in the world. And not only that, they have great reverence for Indian Army who’s medical unit served the people there during the North and South Korea civil war from 1950 to 1953.
They are impressed with victory of Modi government in the recently held general election. Therefore, there is a good feeling towards PM Modiji among educated class of Korea.