Around 400 business leaders and government officials from Korea and India gathered at a business forum on Thursday to strengthen bilateral economic ties.
"Korea was and still remains our role model of economic growth for me. Friends, India today, are a country of 1.35 billion people, going through a great transition. Realizing the Indian dream, we think like like-minded partners."
Like Korea in the past, Prime Minister Modi said India is also undergoing an economic transformation, moving from agriculture-dominated economy to one led by manufacturing and technology becoming the world's sixth largest economy with an annual growth rate of seven percent.
Given India's huge domestic market and improving infrastructure, companies like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor have not just exported goods to India, but have built factories in the country in recent years.
According to the Korea Customs Service, bilateral trade hit 21.five billion U.S. dollars in 2018, with Korea exporting 15.six billion dollars in 2018, up near 37% from 10 billion dollars in 2010.
At the forum, government officials from the two countries also said they hope to move beyond manufacturing and boost cooperation in high tech industries and startup innovation.
"India has invested heavily in infrastructure and 700-thousand engineers are produced every year. Korea also has talented young people and technological know-how, it will be a win-win situation to create a startup ecosystem together."
A Korea-India Startup Hub homepage was launched at the forum to share more information and provide more networking opportunities between the two countries.
Participants at the forum also emphasized the need to amend the two countries' bilateral comprehensive economic partnership agreement, or CEPA, which went into effect in 2010, to make more items duty-free and to boost bilateral trade and investment. Negotiations on a revision have been underway since 2016.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.