India has condemned the sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan on March 26 and commended Seoul for handling the issue with maturity and restraint. While 56 sailors were rescued, 46 were reported killed after the warship sank near the maritime boundary of the two Koreas.

The Indian response came after South Korea shared the report of the Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group that probed the sinking of Cheonan.

The probe report alleged that the ship was sunk by torpedo fired by a North Korean warship.

North Korea has called the finding a “fabrication'' and warned that any retaliation would mean war.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is to visit Seoul, possibly next month, to intensify ties with South Korea to develop closer economic links with Asean + 3. India itself is a part of Asean + 6 which could evolve into the world's largest trading bloc.

North Korea is neither a member of the 10-country Asean nor one of the six nations on the outer ring of the grouping.