India values South Korean investment, says Sharma

October 28th, 2010 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Minu Jain
Hanoi, Oct 28 (IANS) India values South Korean investment despite the row over its Posco project in Orissa over issues related to environment and land, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Thursday.

Saying the Posco project has been discussed previously, Sharma told journalists accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that this assurance would be given to South Korean officials.

“If (Posco) comes up during the meetings, we will be able to reassure South Korea that (Korean) investment will continue,” he said, as Manmohan Singh arrived here on the last leg of a three-nation Asian tour.

The Indian leader will attend the India-ASEAN and East Asia summits and hold bilateral meetings with many leaders.

The minister said South Korean investment was appreciated in India, particularly in steel and automobile manufacturing.

He said New Delhi had looked into issues that have delayed environmental clearances to South Korean projects in India.

Sharma also accompanied Manmohan Singh to Japan and Malaysia, the earlier halts in the prime minister’s journey.

South Korean firm POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Co) signed a deal with the Orissa government in 2005 to set up the $12 billion mega steel project near the port town of Paradip, some 100 km from Bhubaneswar, by 2016.

POSCO needs about 4,000 acres, mostly government land, for the project. Of the land earmarked, 2,900 acres is forest land.

Thousands have rallied against the project, saying it will displace them and ruin their betel leaf farms. POSCO and the state government say the project will only bring prosperity and employment to a backward region.

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