SEOUL: South Korea offered to provide $10 billion for infrastructure projects in India, including smart cities and railways, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with President Park Geun-hye here on Monday and the two countries decided to elevate their ties to a special strategic partnership.
Both sides agreed to increase their defence and security cooperation and also inked seven agreements, including on avoidance of double taxation and for cooperation between their National Security Councils.
Modi, who arrived in the morning from Ulan Bator, held talks with President Park after a ceremonial welcome at the Cheong Wae Dae, the presidential residence.
Modi, in his press statement said India considers South Korea "a crucial partner in India's economic modernization" and it can be a leading partner in India's focus on infrastructure and developing a world class manufacturing sector.
He said that both countries have agreed to hold their diplomatic and security dialogue in the "2 plus 2 format" -- between their foreign and defence secretaries. Japan is the other country with which India holds such a dialogue.
"I welcome the decision to have regular cooperation between our National Security Councils. We have also agreed to expand cooperation between our armed forces," said Modi.
A lengthy joint statement said that South Korea is to offer $10 billion for mutual cooperation in infrastructure projects in India, including smart cities, railways, power generation and transmission. Both sides are to cooperate in the Asia-Pacific Region.
President Park, in her remarks, said both leaders have found complementarities between India's "Act East" and her country's Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI).
As part of the Special Strategic Partnership, both would hold annual summit meetings; hold annual joint commissions led by the their foreign ministers and boost cooperation between their defense education institutions.