India and Korea have enjoyed excellent diplomatic and economic relations that have never been marred by bad historical memories, territorial disputes or economic competition.

New Delhi’s view is that South Korea’s increasing engagement with India arises from the former’s need to reduce its dependence on China.

From Seoul’s standpoint, India remains a long-term attraction due to its large market. Also, India can play a role in the global cost reduction plans of large Korean enterprises.

India’s educated and technically skilled workforce is a strong asset, and its quality is being increasingly recognised abroad. The possibility of India becoming an export production base for South Korea remains strong in spite of recent setbacks.

As wages in Korea have risen, and as Korea has begun to move out of an industry-based to a knowledge-based economy, the attractions of India are obvious because of its cheap blue and white collar labour. Most important, the two countries are not competitors in the global market but complement each other.

Recently, South Korea’s growth potential has started showing a decline because of a rapidly aging population. India has a clear demographic advantage. Joint cooperation could, therefore, benefit them in various ways.