India - South Korea Relation

2 May 2021

Curtain Hug

The spread of Buddhism from India to East Asia in the 4th century formed a direct connection between India and South Korea, and since then has continued to remain a critical reference point. Many may not be aware that there is a much deeper cultural bond between the two nations: A significant Korean consciousness relates to the legend of the marriage of the Korean King Suro with Suriratna, princesses from Ayodhya, the sacred birthplace of Hindu God Lord Rama.

The watershed in the bilateral relations came during the tenure of both countries’ current leaders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Soon after assuming the mantle in 2014, Prime Minister Modi unveiled a new policy called ‘Act East’ signaling the government’s strong commitment to deepen relations with countries in the Indo-Pacific region such as Japan and RoK. As a follow-up, Prime Minister Modi paid a state visit to South Korea within the first year of his government, in May 2015. During this eventful state visit, India-RoK bilateral relations were upgraded to ‘special strategic partnership’. In the ‘Joint Statement for Special Strategic Partnership’, the two leaders agreed to establish a 2+2 consultation mechanism at the level of the Secretary/Vice Minister of Foreign Office and Defense Ministry.

Korean cuisine and TV serials have emerged as a key point of consumption among several states in India’s northeast. The popularity of Korean TV shows—and K-pop in particular—have grown in the last decade, albeit under curious circumstances.
One of the most unexplored areas of cooperation to strengthen India and South Korea’s relationship is democracy.