New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo to boost bilateral defence ties, particularly on enhancing cooperation between defence firms of the two countries and extending logistical support to each other's navies.
During the wide-ranging talks, held in Seoul on Thursday, the two leaders comprehensively reviewed bilateral defence cooperation, a Defence Ministry statement said.
On Friday, addressing CEOs of Korean and Indian defence industries, Singh said the two countries have formulated a forward-looking roadmap to take the bilateral defence industry cooperation to the next level.
Singh invited the Korean industry to explore the feasibility of local production of items, used in main weapon system, imported by Indian Defence PSUs.
He proposed setting up of a task force which identifies such items which are economically viable and can be locally produced in India resulting in reduction of import bill.
"India offers tremendous business opportunity to Korean defence industries in India with liberalised licensing regime, attractive FDI provisions, strong and skilled industrial work force, single window clearances and establishment of Defence Investor Cell to facilitate investors and various other industry friendly initiatives," Singh was quoted as saying by another ministry statement.
Singh, in the presence of South Korea's Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration Wang Jung-hong, said the roadmap has listed a number of proposed areas of cooperation in sectors of land systems, aero systems, naval systems, research and development cooperation and collaboration in testing, certification and quality assurance.
After his talks with his South Korean counterpart, two major agreements to further defence educational exchanges and extend logistical support to each other's navies were signed, it said.
During their talks, Singh and Jeong noted that defence cooperation lies at the heart of the Special Strategic Partnership between India and South Korea.
They discussed the ongoing cooperation at service-to-service level and prospects for enhanced cooperation between defence industries of India and Korea.
According to the defence ministry, the two ministers also exchanged views on regional and international developments of mutual interest.
At the CEO meet, Singh also invited a delegation from Korean defence industries to participate in DefExpo 2020 which will be held from February 5-8, 2020, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Singh expressed confidence that India and South Korea will seize the opportunity for a win-win situation by collaboration, cooperation, co-production and co-development. He assured the Korean industry that the Indian government will take all necessary steps to facilitate investment and joint ventures.
Earlier, the CEO Forum was given detailed information about India's initiatives to attract investments in Indian Defence Corridors from South Korea's defence industries.
Senior government officials and industry leaders of both sides also held Business-to-Government (B2G) meeting in which they explained various investment opportunities available in defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and the upcoming DefExpo 2020.
Later, Singh also addressed the captains of Indian and RoK Defence Industry at the reception given by Indian Embassy in Seoul.
He assured the South Korean industry leaders that the government will facilitate investments in India's defence corridors and extend all incentives and concessions as per the policy. Singh said those companies can have easy access to markets in other countries in the region.
"We are progressing towards becoming a manufacturing hub of defence equipment and investors can use India as a spring board to export defence equipment manufactured in India to various friendly countries in South East Asia, Middle Asia, Middle East Asia, South Asia and Africa," Singh said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in share a close bond which has infused the relationship with a greater sense of purpose.
Singh also took the opportunity to express his happiness on ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 Mission which is scheduled to land on the Moon between 1.30 am and 2.30 am on Saturday.