Continuing a string of recent visits to several countries aimed at strengthening military to military cooperation, Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane arrived in South Korea on Monday on a three day visit from December 28 to 30. This is the first ever visit of an Army Chief to South Korea.
During the visit, Gen. Naravane will be meeting the senior military and civilian leadership of the Republic of Korea, the Army said in a statement. On reaching Seoul, Gen Naravane laid a wreath at the national cemetery and war memorial.
The Army Chief is scheduled to call on the South Korean Defence Minister, Army Chief, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Minister of Defence Acquisition Planning Administration (DAPA). He is also scheduled to visit the Korea Combat Training Centre and Agency for Defence Development (ADD).
In recent years, the two countries have significantly expanded their defence cooperation which also saw a number of high level visits. In September 2019, during the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Seoul, the two countries concluded a military logistics agreement. In February this year, the two countries signed a ‘roadmap for defence industries cooperation’.
Officials on both sides have stated in the recent past that, New Delhi and Seoul are looking to align ‘Act East’ policy and ‘new Southern policy’. Next month, the two countries are hold the India-ROK 2+2 dialogue between Vice-Minister of Defence, South Korea and Secretary East, MEA, an official source said.
At the Army-to-Army Staff talks initiated in 2018, the focus has been on subject matter exchanges with discussions on border management and surveillance, counter terrorism, special forces operations and peacekeeping operations.
Series of visits
Earlier this month, Gen. Naravane undertook a six-day visit to United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and last month he was on a three-day visit to Nepal.
In early October, Gen. Naravane along with Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla visited Mynamar and shortly after that the Ministry of External Affairs had announced that India would be handing over a kilo-class submarine, INS Sindhuvir of the Indian Navy, to Myanmar.
In 2017, the Army contracted 100 K9 Vajra-T 52-calibre self-propelled artillery gun guns from Hanwha Defense of South Korea at a cost of ₹4,500 crore to be built locally with technology transfer by engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T). However, in another deal in which Hanwha Defense was shortlisted, the Army’s Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) tender, an in-principle decision has been taken to cancel the tender and go through the indigenous route.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is also in the race for the Navy’s tender for six submarines under P-75I.