With the visit of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the $12 billion Posco steel project in Odisha has finally taken a big leap forward.
“I am happy that the large-scale Posco steel project in Odisha is set to be operational in the coming weeks, following the revalidation of its environmental clearance,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at joint press appearance, following talks with the South Korean President.
He added that the grant of mining concession is already at an advanced stage of processing. “I conveyed to President Park our hope that this project will confirm that economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand,” Manmohan said. This was also reflected in the joint statement, which went further and hoped that more Korean companies will participate in infrastructure building projects in the country, such as electric power plants and railway construction.
“Korean businesses were in the vanguard of the discovery of India unleashed by our structural reforms in the early 1990s. Today, as a result of further reforms, India offers greater avenues and opportunities for them,” Manmohan said.
The visit by South Korea’s first woman president was not just about economics, but was also about strategic partnership, especially in the defence area.
One of the nine agreements signed on Thursday was for protection of classified military information, which the Prime Minister said would “boost our defence engagement”.
“India and the Republic of Korea recently held the first round of structured consultation between senior defence officials. President Park and I recognised the possibility of defence trade and joint production by further promoting collaboration between our defence research organisations,” he said.
Both the leaders also agreed to establish an annual interaction between the ‘national security structures’ of both the countries, as well as launched a cyber affairs dialogue.
To facilitate people-to-people interaction, New Delhi extended visa-on-arrival facility to Korean citizens.