India, South Korea to discuss nuclear pact, push Posco deal (Lead)January 24th, 2010 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Chennai, Jan 24 (IANS) India and South Korea, two of the region’s fastest growing economies, will explore the prospects of a civil nuclear accord and sign agreements in diverse areas, including IT and civilian space, when their leaders meet here for talks Monday.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, accompanied by ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen, arrived here from Chennai on a four-day state visit to India.
He visited the Hyundai Motor India car plant at Irrungattukottai on the outskirts of Chennai and interacted with South Korean businessmen before flying in to Delhi.
Lee will be the guest of honour at the Republic Day function - a signal honour India reserves for close friends.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with Lee Monday on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the intensification of economic ties and cooperation in the sphere of civilian nuclear cooperation and space technologies.
Closer cooperation in combating global financial recession will also be discussed in the context of the G20 summit Seoul is to host later this year.
Cashing in on their bilateral trade of over $16 billion, which got a boost with the coming into force of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement Jan 1 this year, the two sides are expected to discuss the contours of a possible civil nuclear pact.
South Korea, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group better known in India for iconic brands like Hyundai cars, Samsung and LG, supported consensus for re-opening global civil nuclear trade with India in the NSG in September last year.
A South Korean consortium won $20.4 billion contract to build four 1,400-MW civilian nuclear power units in the UAE, beating American and French companies for one of Middle East’s biggest energy deals.
India has signed civil nuclear accords with seven countries - the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Argentina and Mongolia and is expected to sign another one with Canada this year.
A slew of agreements, including in areas of IT and peaceful uses of space technologies, are expected to be signed after the talks.
Manmohan Singh is expected to assure his South Korean host that his government was doing everything possible to fastrack the $12 billion South Korean Posco steel project at Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa, the single largest foreign direct investment in India.
Lee has expressed hope that the project will become “an exemplary model of industrial cooperation that combines Korea’s know-how in the steel industry and capital with India’s resources and market”. The Ministry of Environment and Forests gave stage II environmental clearance to the Posco project Dec 29 to set the tone for the visit.
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