During the lecture, Ambassador Hyun underlined that economic cooperation defined the relationship between the two countries. In the Maritime Summit held from the 14 to the 16 April 2016, over 50 South Korean companies were present. He said the 26 contracts amounting to over US $100 million that were finalised in the Summit are evidence to the current strong ties between the two nations. He said the relationship was going to grow from strength to strength in the future.
Mr Hyun said being a natural ally to the Republic of Korea, India must look to discover other areas to further build the relations between the two countries. Military, politics, education are few such sectors that can act as potential pillars to cement the ties of the two nations.
Mr Hyun noted that India and the Republic of Korea share an enemy at their respective borders; namely Pakistan and North Korea. The experience that India has in fighting and controlling its neighbour (the 1965 Indo-Pak war and the Kargil war), South Korea could benefit from strategic help from India.
Apart from the expanding bilateral relations, Mr Hyun mentioned the convergence of their views on several global issues such as strategic talks on climate change and maritime security. Speaking about grassroots connectivity among the two nations, the ambassador advocated for more student exchanges. Unlike the large numbers of Korean students that study in the United States, Europe and China, there are less than 300 Korean students currently studying in India. The general tourist exchange is also three times less as compared to the exchange between India and Japan.
Inspiring each other
Mr Hyun delved into the broader commonalities and differences between the two countries and how they could take inspiration from each other and work on those differences. To begin with, he praised the foreign policy of the countries as India and the Republic of Korea both have not invaded any other country. The ambitious and aspiring citizens of the countries form the common spirit that ties these countries together.