Repub­lic of Korea’s...

SP's NavalForces - - ARMAMENTS / ASIA- PACIFIC -

2003 to in­crease in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in in­ter­dict­ing ship­ments of weapons of mass de­struc­tion, their de­liv­ery sys­tems and re­lated ma­te­ri­als. This only in­di­cates that the rOK aims at tak­ing more in­ter­na­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity and also in­creas­ing its global in­flu­ence. This also in­cludes im­proved wide area ocean sur­veil­lance.

Fu­ture Plans

South Korea is sur­rounded by pow­er­ful na­tions like China, rus­sia and Ja­pan. It is also a very close ally of the US since the North-South Korean di­vide. Their con­fronta­tion still car­ries on against the back­drop of strate­gic and geopo­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment of the re­gion. all the naval at­tacks in re­cent times have been from DPrK start­ing as early as 1967. Dur­ing 1999, DPrK Korea in­truded in rOKÕs sea area 11 times, re­sult­ing in ca­su­al­ties and in­juries on both sides. The worst in­ci­dent was when a DPrKÕs sub­ma­rine tor­pedo sank a South Korean Navy ship on March 26, 2010, caus­ing the deaths of 46 sailors. DPrK strongly de­nied any role in the in­ci­dent, in spite of rOK pro­vid­ing am­ple proof. There seems to be no other di­rect threat from any other coun­try in the re­gion. rOK also has the com­plete sup­port of the US and in­di­rect sup­port of NaTO na­tions. North Kore­aÕs mil­i­tary might may not be ca­pa­ble of fight­ing a full-scale con­ven­tional war against South Korea but it can carry on small-scale ran­dom op­er­a­tions along the coast with the back­drop of nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity. North Korea is prob­a­bly mak­ing progress on its Hwaseong-13 in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gramme. North Korea has also been test­ing shor­trange mis­siles which have a range of about 1,000 km. all this is a mat­ter of con­cern for South Korea and its al­lies. al­though rOKN is striv­ing to­wards a blue wa­ter navy, it is also fo­cus­ing on coastal de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity. In 2001, South Korea an­nounced a plan for build­ing a Strate­gic Mo­bile Fleet (SMF), in or­der to safe­guard its global mar­itime in­ter­ests, which was later on scaled down to a group. The aim ap­par­ently is to es­tab­lish an ex­pe­di­tionary Navy ca­pa­ble of over­seas op­er­a­tions and coun­ter­ing re­gional threats to counter re­gional con­cerns like Chi­naÕs rapid naval build-up and a po­ten­tial ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute with Ja­pan over South Kore­aÕs east­ern-most islets of Dokdo. Fi­nally, South Korea has plans to op­er­ate a SMF of two aegis de­stroyer-led squadrons in a decade or so. The first squadron is planned by 2015.

South Korea-US Re­la­tions

The US along with the erst­while Soviet Union was in­volved in the de­coloni­sa­tion of Korea from Ja­pan af­ter World War II. The Gov­ern­ment of South Korea was es­tab­lished af­ter three years of mil­i­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion by the United States. The US also sends forces to de­fend it dur­ing the Korean War. af­ter the ar­mistice, South Korea and the US agreed to a ÒMu­tual De­fense TreatyÓ, un­der which an at­tack on ei­ther coun­try in the Pa­cific re­gion would bring a joint mil­i­tary re­sponse. The treaty was hon­oured by South Korea dur­ing the Viet­nam War. rOKN also par­tic­i­pates in the Rim of the Pa­cific Ex­er­cise (RIMPAC). RIMPaC is the worldÕs largest in­ter­na­tional mar­itime war­fare ex­er­cise which is held bi­en­ni­ally dur­ing June and July of even-num­bered years in Honolulu, Hawaii, and hosted by the US Navy’s Pa­cific Fleet. Pa­cific Rim na­tions are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate where po­ten­tial con­flict sce­nar­ios which may re­quire naval force-on-force en­gage­ments. Th­ese in­clude the pos­si­bil­ity of China in­vad­ing Tai­wan in the event of its dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence and North Korea pitch­ing against South Korea, US and Ja­pan. Many coun­tries in­clud­ing In­dia are in­vited as ob­servers. The two na­tions have strong eco­nomic, diplo­matic and mil­i­tary ties. a free trade agree­ment was also re­ported to be hav­ing been signed be­tween them dur­ing 2007. at the 2009 G-20 Lon­don sum­mit, Pres­i­dent barack Obama called South Korea Òone of amer­i­caÕs clos­est al­lies and great­est friendsÓ.

Indo-South Korean Re­la­tions

Dur­ing the Korean War, In­dia sent mil­i­tary med­i­cal staff as part of the UN force to sup­port South Korea. For­mal diplo­matic ties were es­tab­lished be­tween both the coun­tries in 1973. Since then many trade agree­ments have been signed in­clud­ing the Free Trade agree­ment. Start­ing with $530 mil­lion in 1992-93, it touched $19 bil­lion in 2012. The two coun­tries have set a new trade tar­get of $40 bil­lion by 2015. bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment is about $4 bil­lion. In­di­aÕs De­fence Min­is­ter a.K. antony and Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh have vis­ited South Korea to strengthen the ties. Dur­ing a talk in the In­sti­tute of Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies in May 2013, Joon-gyu Lee, the am­bas­sador of South Korea in In­dia, stated: ÒKorea did not miss to recog­nise the new pro­file of In­dia and evinced much in­ter­est in build­ing strong bi­lat­eral ties on a range of is­sues. In­dia has also re­alised the im­por­tance of Korea as a part­ner in the emerg­ing geopo­lit­i­cal sce­nario. A def­i­nite step in this di­rec­tion was taken when the two coun­tries es­tab­lished ÒLong-term Co­op­er­a­tive Part­ner­ship for Peace and Pros­per­i­tyÓ in 2004. The two coun­tries started an an­nual For­eign Pol­icy and Se­cu­rity Di­a­logue to deliberate on re­gional and in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues. Sub­se­quently, the two coun­tries laid the foun­da­tion for de­fence co­op­er­a­tion, by sign­ing a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) on co­op­er­a­tion in de­fence in­dus­try and lo­gis­tics in 2005 and another MoU on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the Coast Guards of the two coun­tries in 2006. The real turn­ing point in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions came in the year 2010, when Korea and In­dia up­graded their re­la­tion­ship to a Ôs­trate­gic part­ner­shipÕ.Cog­nizant of the im­por­tance of eco­nomic re­la­tions in the over­all frame­work of strate­gic part­ner­ship, both Korea and In­dia put in force the Com­pre­hen­sive eco­nomic Part­ner­ship agree­ment (CePa). With th­ese two land­mark agree­ments, the two coun­tries laid down the strong foun­da­tion for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. He stressed on the im­por­tance of de­fence co­op­er­a­tion in evolv­ing strate­gic part­ner­ship. ÒThe de­fence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, among oth­ers, also en­vis­ages co­op­er­a­tion of de­fence equip­ment, trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy and joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment.Ó

Some other key as­pects of de­fence co­op­er­a­tion are:

of joint naval ex­er­cises and mil­i­tary con­sul­ta­tions.

pro­grammes, which in­clude ex­change of de­fence re­lated ex­pe­ri­ence and in­for­ma­tion, mu­tual ex­change of vis­its by mil­i­tary per­son­nel and ex­perts in­clud­ing civil­ian staff as­so­ci­ated with de­fence ser­vices.

2012, In­dia posted a per­ma­nent De­fence at­tachŽ in its em­bassy in Seoul, sig­ni­fy­ing the im­por­tance of de­fence co­op­er­a­tion in evolv­ing strate­gic part­ner­ship. So far the De­fence at­tachŽ in Ja­pan also looked af­ter South Korea.

de­fence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, among oth­ers, also en­vis­ages co­op­er­a­tion of de­fence equip­ment, trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy and joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

in hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance and in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. MoU signed with the De­fence re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DrDO) and Vice Com­mis­sioner, De­fence ac­qui­si­tion and Pro­cure­ment agency (DaPa) of South Korea, with the aim to iden­tify fu­tur­is­tic de­fence tech­nol­ogy ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­ests and pur­sue re­search and de­vel­op­ment work in both the coun­tries. It also en­vis­ages co-de­vel­op­ment and co-pro­duc­tion of de­fence prod­ucts with In­dian in­dus­try through DrDO.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: US Navy

Am­phibi­ous land­ing ship ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111) in the Sea of Ja­pan

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