송경진 | (사)혁신경제 사무총장, 파이낸셜뉴스 글로벌이슈센터장, 전 세계경제연구원 원장
Next year marks the golden jubilee of Korea-India diplomatic ties. The golden jubilee could be translated into an opportune moment for bilateral relations to be upgraded to the next level with a set of concrete cooperation projects that are more ambitious and action-oriented in regard to cooperation. Korea and India, two thriving democracies in the Indo-Pacific region, are natural partners for many reasons.
India's geopolitical and geoeconomic importance is increasing ever more rapidly. India, currently the world's fifth-largest economy, is forecast to be the third-largest by 2050 after China and the United States. South Korea, will be the ninth-largest. Their bilateral trade in the first half of 2022 reached $14.2 billion, the largest volume in the first half ever. It, however, is far below the potential of the two Asian economies.
On Nov. 11, President Yoon announced, at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, the vision of Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy for "a free, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific." Korea is slated to present its Indo-Pacific strategy to the world in totality by year-end. Changing geopolitical and geoeconomic circumstances constantly provide new impetus for adjusting and fine-tuning such a strategy.
The geographical boundaries of Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy expand farther to Africa's Indian Ocean and Europe. Consequently, the importance of increasing cooperation with India, a key country in the Indo-Pacific region, will be emphasized. Korea would also benefit from India's established strong influence, reach and networks in the countries bordering the African Indian Ocean region.