SEOUL, March 25 � Seeking to expand their strategic ties, India and South Korea today agreed to step up political and security cooperation, as they vowed to double the bilateral trade to an ambitious USD 40 billion by 2015, reports PTI.
�We agreed to expand our political and security cooperation,� Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said after his talks with President Lee Myung-bak here.
�With this objective in mind, I informed President Lee of India�s decision to position a Defence Attache at our Embassy here in Seoul before the end of the year,� he said, adding that these steps are being taken to add �substance to our (India�s) Strategic Partnership. Ours is a partnership built on shared values that provide a firm foundation for further development,� Singh said.
Noting that bilateral trade had risen by 65 per cent over the past two years since the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Singh said: �President Lee and I agreed that our strong economic ties are fundamental to our growing interaction.
�We have therefore set a new target of USD 40 billion by 2015. We also agreed to accelerate work in progress to upgrade the Agreement and make it more ambitious,� Singh, who is on a four-day visit here to attend the Nuclear Security Summit said.
In a joint statement released after the talks, the two leaders expressed grave concern about the continued threat of terrorism and piracy, emanating from various quarters.
�The two leaders expressed the hope that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was under consideration at the UN, would be adopted soon,� the joint statement said.
India also joined South Korea in voicing concern over North Korea�s plan to launch an �application satellite�, a move that is likely to escalate tension in the peninsula. Singh and Lee also agreed to enhance cooperation and coordination on regional issues, including in the East Asia Summit process. The two-day nuclear summit begins tomorrow.
Singh and Lee also discussed ways and means to enhance cooperation between scientists and technicians, including how to operationalise a joint Science and Technology Fund of USD 10 million.