Date From : Apr 20, 2023To : Apr 21, 2023
India, Korea in the Emerging Dynamics of the Indo-Pacific

The long shadow cast by great power strategic competition looms over the Indo-Pacific as the rise of China and the relative decline of US’ power have profoundly reshaped global economics, technology and politics. As well-worn tenets of foreign policy have come undone, regional capitals are scrambling to formulate a coherent grand strategic response to the systemic challenge posed by the return of great power competition to the region for the first time since the end of the Cold War. Nowhere is this more true than with India and Korea. In the space of a decade, and especially in the last few years, Indo-Chinese relations have taken a nosedive as both powers have clashed over unsettled borders, issues of sovereignty and China’s expansion into India’s South Asian backyard. In response, India has pursued policies ranging from appeasement to greater alignment with more like-minded powers like the United States. Sino-Korean relations, while less strained, have not been without problems. Seoul worries about its economic dependence on China, challenges to freedom of navigation and the free flow of goods by its western neighbor and its security vulnerability given its proximity to China’s ascendant military power. Given that both nations share a number of anxieties vis-a-vis China. Against this background, the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi in partnership with the Korea Foundation is organizing a two-day webinar which aims to analyse the growing India- Korea relationship in the context of the deteriorating political and security conditions in the Indo-Pacific and assess the points of convergence between these two powers.

On December 28, 2022, the Republic of Korea (ROK) unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy. The ROK started working on this strategy right from the time of the coming of the Yoon Suk Yeol administration. The strategy states that the ROK aims to emerge as a ‘Global Pivotal State’, that is “it actively seeks out agenda for cooperation and shapes discussions in the region and the wider world”. In South Asia, stress has been given on further strengthening ‘the special strategic partnership with India’. The strategy outlines that, “India presents great potential for growth, having the world’s second largest population and cutting-edge IT and space technologies.” Furthermore, through high level exchanges, upgrading the ROK-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) the foundation of this bilateral relationship will be made stronger. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the India-Korea diplomatic relationship. The two- day webinar will discuss issues ranging from: a) Where does India stand in South Korea’s New Indo-Pacific Strategy? b) What are the areas of cooperation the two should explore in the domains of economy, tech and security?


Day 1 (April 20, 2023)

11am to 11:20 am| Opening Remarks

Brief Introductory Remarks by Dr. Premesha Saha,  Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

Opening Remarks by Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh, Director at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Kolkata and Head Centre for New Economic Diplomacy (CNED)

Opening Remarks by Minister Sang-Woo LIM, Deputy Chief of Mission, Korean Embassy in New Delhi 

Opening Remarks by Mr. Surinder Bhagat, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Seoul, Republic of Korea

11:20 am to 12:20 am| Session1: The Importance of India in South Korea’s New Indo-Pacific Policy


Ms. Youn Jung Park, Director, India-Korea Center for Research and Innovation

Prof. Sandip Kumar Mishra, Associate Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Dr. Choong Yong Ahn, Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies, Chung-Ang University Seoul

Dr. Premesha Saha, Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

Moderator: Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow, heads the Maritime Policy Initiative at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

12:20pm to 1:20 pm| Session 2: India-South Korea cooperation in Technology: Opportunities and Challenges


Ms. Shimona Mohan, Research Assistant, Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

Dr. JI Yeon-jung, Research professor at Institute of Indian Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul

Mr. Kartik Bommakanti, Senior Fellow with the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi

Prof. Wooyeal Paik, Department of Political Science and International Studies, Yonsei University

Moderator: Dr. Sameer Patil, Senior Fellow Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai

Day 2 (April 21, 2023)

11:00am to 12:00pm|Session 1: Prospects for an Upgraded Republic of Korea-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement


Dr. Kyunghoon Kim, Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Area Studies, India and South Asia Team, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Ms. Jhanvi Tripathi, Coordinator for the Think20 India Secretariat and Associate Fellow with ORF’s Geoeconomics Studies Programme

Minister Han-koo Yeo, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute, Visiting Professor, Seoul National University Business School, Former Trade Minister of Republic of Korea

Dr. Arpita Mukherjee, Professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), New Delhi

Moderator: Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh, Director at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Kolkata and Head Centre for New Economic Diplomacy (CNED)

12:00 pm to 1:00pm|Session 2: India-South Korea Security Partnership


Dr. Jagannath Panda, Head, Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs, Institute for Security and Development Policy

Dr. Rajeswari Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology (CSST) at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Dr. Wondeuk Cho, Research Professor, Korea National Diplomatic Academy

Moderator: Dr. Premesha Saha, Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi