SEOUL, KOREA — India is described as a nation with the oldest civilization, the largest democracy and the youngest population – almost 70 percent below the age of 35. I may add that young India, that gained independence on August 15. 1947 and became a Republic on January 26. 1950, is also a confident and aspirational nation with tremendous diversity. She has already become the second fastest growing major economy in the world. India’s GDP is already USD 1.84 trillion and is likely to touch USD 2 trillion by the end of this year,” Mr. Vishnu Prakash, Ambassador of India, said in an interview with the Korea IT Times.
Korea IT Times conducted an interview with Mr. Vishnu Prakash, ambassador of India, concerning trade relations, economic policies and strides India is making in its booming industry.
Q) Will you explain the present bilateral trade relations between our two countries
A) India and RoK operationalised a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on 1 January 2010 which has led to an impressive 70 percent growth in our bilateral trade in just two years to USD 20.5 billion in 2011. We are confident that the target of USD 30 billion by 2014 will be achieved. Both sides are in consultation to further upgrade CEPA in order to infuse even greater momentum in trade and economic links.
India offers a huge market to South Korea with an over 300 million strong middle class, having excellent buying power. On the other hand, India can offer a range of world class products and services, including Pharmaceuticals and IT services, at very competitive prices to our Korean friends.
Q) What are popular sightseeing destinations in India for Koreans
A) India is a continent-sized country, with the world’s highest mountains to the north, sprawling deserts and forts to the west, world-famous beaches, as well as ancient temples and churches to the south. There are also wildlife sanctuaries and stunning natural beauty to its east and north-east. Then, we have Taj Mahal - the eternal monument of love - in Agra about 200 kms south of New Delhi. The Land of Buddha and Gandhi, Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar, is a preferred destination for Buddhist pilgrims from the world over. I could recommend Korean friends, who are visiting India to start with the so-called Golden Triangle that includes, the capital city of New Delhi, Rajasthan (forts and desert) and the Taj Mahal. I am happy that our countries are well connected, with Air India, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines operating direct between our cities.
Q) What are India’s key and promising industries
A) India has made significant strides in the sunshine industries including IT, biotechnology and nanotechnology. During 2011-12, IT and BPO sectors generated revenues of over USD 88 billion, of which close to USD 60 billion was by way of exports. We also have noteworthy strengths in areas like gems and jewellery, textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and components, chemicals and petro-chemicals, heavy engineering, agriculture and minerals.
Q) In what industrial sectors does India want Korean firms to invest in
A) India offers a huge market where demand is growing by 10 to 15% per annum. It is expected that given our robust economic growth, India would have a per capita income of about USD 5000 by 2020 and a population of 1.4 bn. South Korean white goods (TV, Air conditioner, Refrigerator, Washing machine etc) and electronic items have already become household names in India. For example India already has 898 million mobile subscribers and is likely to add another 200 million or some 12-14 million every month during 2012. We also propose to invest USD 1 trillion in infrastructure development between 2012 and 2017, to establish world class highways, airports, seaports and metro railways. Concerted efforts are being made to scale power generation capacity including renewable and civil nuclear energy. We expect to enhance nuclear power generation capacity from 5000 MW at present to 60,000 MW by 2030. As such when it comes to India, Korean companies are only limited by their imagination.
Q) What is the most important economic policy which India is now pushing
A) India, a market economy, is single-mindedly focusing on sustainable economic development given that 60 percent of its population is below the age of 30. To harness the demographic dividend, we need to create opportunities for gainful employment, strengthen infrastructure and quantitatively scale up our manufacturing capabilities. That is the task that the nation is devoted to.