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Rajnath Singh holds talks with his Korean counterpart Suh Wook
New Delhi, March 27, 2021
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his South Korean counterpart Suh Wook held talks on here on Friday during which they explored new areas of cooperation and avenues to strengthen the long-standing bilateral defence partnership.
The defence and security engagements between India and Korea have grown exponentially over the last few years, an official press release said.
The release said the two Ministers acknowledged that the bilateral defence cooperation has broadened significantly in scale and scope across the Tri-Services as well as agencies dealing with defence technology and industry. Both the countries have also found common ground on several multilateral fora and engagements.
The Ministers exchanged views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the defence and security engagements as well as best practices followed by the Armed Forces of both nations. Rajnath Singh lauded the stellar contribution of Korea in the pandemic mitigation efforts.
They reaffirmed their support for multilateral initiatives to promote lasting peace and stability in the region and beyond.
Rajnath Singh said the bilateral relations between both the countries are set to grow further and the meeting between them will provide the necessary impetus to take them to the next level.
The Ministers also expressed satisfaction over the commitment exhibited by diverse agencies of both countries to sustain structured annual dialogues at various levels of leadership through virtual means when travel and physical engagements became increasingly challenging during the ongoing pandemic. This has kept up the momentum of bilateral defence engagements.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy formed part of the Indian delegation during the talks.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh and Suh Wook jointly inaugurated the India-Korea Friendship Park in a ceremony to mark the occasion at Delhi Cantonment. The park is a symbol of close relations between both countries and acknowledges the contribution of the Indian Army’s Medical Mission during the Korean War.
The presence of distinguished guests from the Korean War Veterans Association during the inauguration ceremony was an acknowledgement of the event. Both the Ministers planted a sapling each to mark the momentous occasion. Suh Wook felicitated the Korean War Veterans Association of India General Secretary Anil Malhotra on the occasion.
Apart from being a symbol of the strong India-South Korea friendly relations, it is also a monument to India’s contributions as part of 21 countries that participated in the Korean war 1950-53, under the aegis of the United Nations, the Defence Ministry said.
The park has been developed in joint consultation with the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Army, Delhi Cantonment Board, Embassy of Korea and Korean War Veterans Association of India.
Spread across a green area of six acres, the park includes an entrance gate in the Korean style signifying the graceful culture, a jogging track, landscaped garden and an amphitheatre.
The park has an imposing handshake artefact standing tall at the entrance bearing flags of India and South Korea which was unveiled by both the Defence Ministers.
The park also has a larger than life statue of General K S Thimayya, a celebrated soldier who led the Indian contingent as Chairman of Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC) in Korea headed by India.
The Commission, through the Custodian Force of India (CFI), was responsible for gathering unrepatriated prisoners of war into camps. It was also India’s first commitment to a UN assignment after independence.
The five pillars raised in the backdrop of General Thimayya’s statue are embossed with details of operations carried out by 60 Parachute Field Ambulance during the Korean war where they had treated about 1,95,000 cases and performed about 2,300 field surgeries.
One pillar also encompasses Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s narration of Korea as “The Lamp of the East” which was published in the Korean daily Dong-A-Llbo” in 1929.