"Hallyu" Indo- Korean Relationship!
Rising up and up Indo Korean relationship- talented people are no less both in the land of Morning Calm (Republic of Korea.) and the Land of Festivals and Spices (India). I received many instant calls and wishes of “Hallyu (wave) Indo-Korean Relationship” from South Korea counterpart on the eve and ahead of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh proposed visit to South Korea to attain the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. What Manipur (India’s State) will gain from Indo-Korea relationship? Hopefully, state government has to look forward of the outcome. The Republic of Korea is a strategic partner and an important pillar of our “Look East Policy” since1973. The year 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the Republic of Korea. Both India and South Korea will celebrate this year in a befitting manner.
India has a vibrant trade and investment relationship with South Korea. Indo-Korean partnership in science & technology, education and energy holds enormous promise. Indian Community in ROK is estimated to be about 8000. Over 1000 IT professionals/engineers have recently come to ROK and are working in various companies including large conglomerates such as Samsung and LG. There are about 500 scientists/post-doctoral research scholars in ROK working in prestigious institutions. Currently, some 50,000 Indian people are working for 380 Korean firms, a fact that reflects there has been great progress in Korea-India relations. In turn, there are about 9,000 Koreans staying in India.
In discussions between President Lee and PM Dr. Manmohan Singh agreed that Indo-Korean strong economic ties are fundamental to our growing interaction. Bilateral trade has risen by 65% over the past two years since the implementation of our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and therefore, set a new target of US$ 40 billion by 2015.
Dr. Manmohan Singh has invited Korean firms to invest in India in a big way-construction project, highways, ports, airports, metros and power plants. Companies such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung are already household names in India. Further, small and medium sized Korean companies are also encouraging to make India a base for their manufacturing. India is making a huge effort in upgrading physical infrastructure, Dr. Manmohan said. There are six reasons for Korean Investment in India-Firstly, India’s domestic savings rate is about 33 – 35% of our GDP and growing. Secondly, India has a very young population and over half of the working population is in its twenties. Thirdly, over the past few years, India has invested heavily in education, health and agriculture to give a new deal to rural India. India’s rural markets are now booming and the middle class is growing rapidly. Fourthly, India has been undertaking a huge expansion in higher education and skill development infrastructure of ports, airports, railways, energy and roads. India is poised to continue to be a frontline player in the global knowledge economy. Fifthly, India has very ambitious plans for the development of physical infrastructure. India is planning to secure investment of almost US $ one trillion in the next 5 years in new projects in highways, power plants, mass transport systems, ports and airports. This will be achieved through both public and private investment and Public-Private Partnerships. Sixthly, India is determined to pursue a strategy of green growth and committed to increasing energy efficiency and the share of renewable, including solar and nuclear power, in our energy mix. There will be large business opportunities and it will suit Korean capabilities in environmentally friendly technologies.
Korean companies have always recognized these strengths and competitive advantages of the Indian economy. They were among the early investors to look at India as a strategic investment destination. Korean giants like LG and Samsung plays dominant market share in India. Hyundai has a 25% market share in India's domestic passenger car industry. Indian firms too are establishing themselves in Korea. Tata Motors, Mumbai have already signed an agreement for acquiring Daewoo Commercial vehicles, Kunsan (South Korea) at a cost of US$ 102 million.
The government is keen to move forward with the POSCO project in Orissa and there is some progress in this regard. India is a stable and profitable long term investment opportunity. Presently, South Korea is investing in infrastructural projects, building national highways and Delhi Metro rail in India.
In his remark to Korean Industries, PM Dr. Manmohan said “we want Korean companies to help us realize this objective and benefit from the opportunities provided by this.” The Indo-Korea discussion was ways and means to enhance cooperation between our scientists and technicians, including how to operationalize a joint Science and Technology Fund of US$ 10 million. Korea will offer nuclear reactor in India and re-establishment of the Nalanda University. In turn, India has also offered to launch Korean satellites on Indian space launch vehicles.
Kim Joong Keun, ambassador of Korea in India writes (TOI) on the eve of Dr. Manmohan Singh visit to South Korea—“taking the opportunity to attend the security summit, Dr. Manmohan Singh has also made an official visit to Korea, reciprocating the state visit to India by President Lee Myung-bak in January 2010, when both leaders upgraded our relations current strategic partnership. Since then, there have been tremendous developments in bilateral relations. Our bilateral trade has since increased by almost 70% in two years to reach over $20.6 billion in 2011. The Seoul nuclear security summit will deliberate on how to make the world safe from nuclear and radiological terrorism.”
A remarkable feature of South Korea is its transformation from a developing country in 1950s to a high-income country of the world with a substantial per capita income. The economic reforms of 1990s in India have been influenced with East-Asian success and South Korea was among the chief countries to have an impact on Indian policy makers' thinking process. Though Consular relations between India and South Korea were set up in 1962, it was in 1973 with the establishment of formal diplomatic ties that a new chapter was opened in the history of Indo-Korean cooperation.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973, Indo-Korean relations have become stronger through vibrant exchanges in a wide range of fields, including foreign policy and security issues, economy and trade, science and technology, and education and culture. In particular, the two countries have witnessed remarkable progress in the economic sector.
Bilateral trade increased ten times in a decade from $2.1 billion in 1999 to $15.6 billion in 2008 to $20.6 billion in 2011. In addition, many Korean companies have successfully established favourable images in India. South Korea is also closely collaborating within the framework of the G-20 summit in an effort to address the global financial and economic crisis.
South Korea has now become a leader in “green growth”. If so, India is becoming a partner in this sector--India has abundant natural resources and outstanding human resources, so India and Korea can work closely together in the following areas—low carbon technology, development of clean energy, including new renewable energy and nuclear energy; green transportation, including electric vehicles and railroads; and energy-efficient technologies, including electrical power grids and low-carbon industrial processes.
Economic ties are the bulwark of the Indo-Korean relationship. But surely there are other areas with potential for growth? South Korea’s forte is in IT hardware manufacturing while India’s is in IT services. In this respect, it is possible to produce synergy in the IT area between the two countries. Wave of Indo- Korea relationship looks forward to seeing the joint participation of software companies from both countries in building an IT infrastructure in India.
Also, it would be great to see Indian software professionals working in South Korea’s manufacturing sector, and an enhanced collaboration in the area of Mobile-WiMAX, wireless broadband Internet technology. In addition, Korea has the know-how in constructing power and petrochemical plants as well as oil and gas plants.
The POSCO project to investment around $12 billion in integrated steel plants at Paradip in Orissa has been delayed due to fear of another Nandigram episode of West Bengal on project land allocation by Orissa government, though efforts are being made to fast track it. . The POSCO investment in India would be the largest ever foreign investment in India till date and the single largest overseas investment by a Korean company. 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.
Pre Modern Relationship: South Korea and India, though geographically far apart, have shared close historic and emotional bonds. In a poem written when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, Rabindranath Tagore referred to South Korea as the “lamp of the East.”
Historian are viewed that this cordial relationship between the two countries extends back to 48AD, when Queen Suro, or Princess Heo Hwang-ok, traveled from the kingdom of Ayodhya in North India to Korea. According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly king who was awaiting heaven's anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen, for permission to set out and seek the man, which the king and queen urged with the belief that god orchestrated the whole fate. Upon approval, she set out on a boat, carrying gold, silver, a tea plant, and a stone which calmed the waters. Archeologists discovered a stone with two fish kissing each other, a symbol of the Gaya kingdom that is unique to the Mishra royal family in Ayodhya, India. This royal link provides further evidence that there was an active commercial engagement between India and Korea since the queen's arrival to Korea. The city of Gimhae, where the princess landed in South Korea, now has a pact with the Ayodhya administration in Uttar Pradesh, which even donated a site there for a monument of Queen Hur-Hwang-ok.
In the ancient time Buddhism was the bedrock of relationship between the Korea and India. Buddhism was introduced to Korea in the second half of fourth century and Koguryo was the first among the three kingdoms of Korea, which received Buddhism. During the reign of Kim Sosurim (371-384), Buddhism was officially recognized in Korea. Supposedly, Buddhism reached from India to Korea via China. However, there are some speculations which try to explore the possibility that Buddhism reached to Korea directly from India. Even if Buddhism reached Korea directly from India before its official route via China, more or less it was in a dormant form and there is hardly any evidence that it got any reference in the Korean cultural and social life. Without going into the debate of source of Korean Buddhism, it is safe to say that spread of Buddhism in Korea during the era of three kingdoms led to increase in interactions of two countries afterwards.
Cultural Proximity between Korea and Manipur (North East State of India):
There has been a major makeover in the cultural life of the Indian society after its policies on liberalization and globalization. The North Eastern States of India are not an exception. The wave of globalization and information and communication technology revolution has also been felt in Manipur, one of the North Eastern States of India. With the arrival of Arirang (TV Channel of Korea), and its impact upon the Manipuris, especially among the youngsters has been felt in myriads of ways. For example, after watching the various Korean serials on Arirang, there is an earnest desire by the youngsters to imitate and copy everything from language, to food habit, to dress style, even the body language and some Korean manners. They have started using some common sentences used in the day to day life by the serial stars. For instance, anna saiyo (halo), sarange (I love you), watuke (what to do), waju waju (yes) etc
The Koreans are believed to be descendants of several Mongol tribes that migrated onto the Korean Peninsula from Central Asia (KOIS, 2003). Meiteis are ethno-linguistically Tibeto-Burman family of Mongoloid stock (O. K. Singh, 1988; Kamei, 1991). Sir Jhonstone also wrote, “Meiteis or Manipuris are a fine stalwart race descended from an Indo-Chinese stock, with some admixture of Aryan blood, derived from the successive wave of Aryan invaders that passed through the valley in pre-historic days (Sir Johnstone, 1971: 97).”Thus, the people of these two societies belong to the Mongoloid stock. Clan communities that combined to form small town-states characterized ancient Korea.
The family name comes first in traditional Manipuri names like the Koreans. Manipuris akin to the Koreans do not refer to others by their given names except among very close friends. Even among siblings, the younger ones are not supposed to address their elders by given names but rather eche (eonmi in Korean), meaning elder sister, or eyamba (oppa in Korean), meaning elder brother (KOIS, 2003: 156-157). Sanamahism of Manipur is a counterpart of Shamanism in Korea. Sanamahism is a pre-Hindu religion of the Manipuris.
The maiba and maibi’s role as medium between the living and the spiritual world is perhaps the most remarkable, and the most original and authentic. They are similar to Shaman and Mudang in Korean. Both Sanamahism and Shamanism includes the worship of spirits that are believed to dwell in every object of the natural world, including rocks, trees, mountains and streams as well as celestial bodies. Till today, both of these religions have remained an underlying religion of the Manipuri and Korean people as well as vital aspect of their culture respectively (KOIS, 2003: 162-163).
In Manipur, there is the close association of religion with music and dance. The distinctive approach to Manipuri culture is best seen in the fact that dance is religious and its aim a spiritual experience. Development of music and dance has been through religious festivals and daily activities of lives. Not only is dance a medium of worship and enjoyment, a door to the divine, but indispensable for ceremonies like birth of child, marriage, death, etc (M. Kirti Singh, 1988: 165). Likewise, the traditional music of Korea is always a distinctive Korean voice, a voice that arises from the character of the Korean people, related to Korea’s climate and natural environment and also to religion and ideology. For a better understanding of Korean music, one point that should not be omitted is that in music that is used for rituals, the cosmologic principle of the five natural elements and yin and yang play a prominent role (KTO, 2005: 26-28). Maibi’s ritual dance is the foundation of most of the dance forms of Manipur like that of the shaman’s ritual dance in Korea.
There is also similar cultural trait in folk games. Sireum in Korea or Mukna in Manipur is a traditional form of wrestling. It is a type of folk competition in which two players, holding to a satba (Korean) or khwangshet (Manipuri), a cloth tied around the waist and thigh, use their strength and various techniques to wrestle each other to the ground (KTO, 2005: 182) .
The foregoing traditional cultural relations have shown that there is a cultural proximity between the Korean and Manipuri societies, a research paper “Mapping Cultural Diffusion-the Case of ‘Korean Wave’ in N E India” of Mr. Otojit Kshetrimayum remarked.
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