INTERNATIONAL

It’s now Act East policy: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets membersof the Indian diaspora on his arrival in Seoul on Monday.— Photo: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets membersof the Indian diaspora on his arrival in Seoul on Monday.— Photo: PTI  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a jibe at previous governments which practised a ‘Look East’ policy, saying India has had enough of it and it’s time to ‘Act East.’

“We now have an ‘Act East Policy’ — a key component of my government’s foreign policy,” Mr. Modi told the Indian diaspora during a community reception at the Kyung Hee University here.

Mr. Modi’s reference to ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ drew loud cheers from the audience.

The ‘Look East’ policy was first coined by the Narasimha Rao government in the 1990s and has been followed by successive governments.

Earlier, Mr. Modi who arrived here from Mongolia on the last leg of his three-nation tour, said: “We consider Korea a crucial partner in India’s economic modernisation.”

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said ties between the two countries had progressed substantially and the two sides were committed to improving the business environment. The two sides signed seven agreements and Memorandum of Understanding including one on Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income.

A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said India sees Korea as an “indispensable partner” in its “Act East” strategy and that both countries “recognise the value of the bilateral partnership and its contribution to bringing peace, stability and security in the Asia Pacific Region.”

Mr. Modi met U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon here and discussed key global issues with him.

“Discussed key global issues during the wonderful meeting with @UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon,” he tweeted. Mr. Ban is a South Korean national.

Gangnam style

At a banquet hosted in his honour by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Mr. Modi said: “Our destinies are linked with the future of Asia and the Pacific. We will prosper when the region is peaceful and our sea lanes are secure and free. We know that we must be secure in our cyber world and safe in our physical world.”

He said Korea was part of India’s daily life with Indian people using Korean phones, cars, computers and games. “When cricketers in India celebrate their victory in Gangnam style, you know that Korea is now firmly on Indian minds and limbs,” he said in a lighter vein. — PTI

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