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India, South Korea to launch talks for civil nuclear pact

New Delhi, June 18 (Calcutta Tube) India and South Korea Friday agreed to launch negotiations for a civil nuclear energy agreement, even as economic ties continued to expand after implementation of a comprehensive economic pact.

This was discussed during a India-South Korea joint commission meeting in Seoul Friday, which was chaired by Indian External Affairs minister S. M. Krishna and Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan.

‘Noting that the two sides had already exchanged drafts of an Inter-Governmental Agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the two ministers agreed to launch negotiations between the two countries, at an early date, for the conclusion of such an agreement,’ according to an official press release.

The Indian side also mentioned the importance of implementing the memorandum of understanding on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which will allow for the launch of Korean satellites by Indian launch vehicles.

Krishna noted that economic cooperation was the ‘bedrock’ of India-Korean bilateral relations. Trade has already increased by 70 percent in the first four months after the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since Jan 1, 2010.

‘In this context, EAM (external affairs minister) pointed out the need for expanded but balanced trade growth and made a strong case for greater access to the Korean market for Indian pharmaceuticals, IT enabled services and agro-products,’ according to the release.

Three agreements were signed during the visit, including one for cooperation in small and medium enterprises.

Defence and security cooperation also featured in discussion, especially for expanded naval cooperation in anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

‘EAM stressed the potential for expanded cooperation in defence production including through transfer of technology, joint ventures and co-production,’ it said.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony will be visiting South Korea later this year.

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