India invites South Korean president for visit

Seoul/New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India Tuesday told South Korea there was "enormous goodwill in India" for that country as India's National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon called on South Korean President Park Guen-hye in Seoul.

Menon, on an official visit to Seoul, handed over a personal letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to South Korea's first woman president. Manmohan Singh has invited President Park to India, which she has accepted.

The dates are to be worked out through diplomatic channels, said a statement from the Indian embassy at Seoul.

Menon was accompanied by Ambassador Vishnu Prakash, Joint Secretary Gautam Bambawale of the external affairs ministry and other officials during his call on President Park.

"He conveyed the warm greetings of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handed over his personal letter to her. The prime minister noted that there was 'enormous goodwill in India for the Republic of Korea' and that he looked forward to welcoming her in India at an early date," said the statement.

"He expressed confidence that her visit would open up new opportunities of greater cooperation in political, economic, security, people to people and other spheres. President Park conveyed her regards to PM and accepted the invitation with pleasure. Dates will be worked out through diplomatic channels," it said.

Menon arrived June 30 on the first bilateral visit by an Indian NSA to Seoul. On Monday, he held discussions with his counterpart Kim Jang-soo and also met Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin. The latter visited India in 2012. The Korean NSA had visited India as defence minister in 2007.

"Both sides expressed happiness at the rapid expansion of bilateral relations in economic, political, cultural, educational and other areas, given growing convergence of interests and outlook. They exchanged views on adding greater content to engagement especially in the political, strategic and security sectors. They also compared notes on a variety of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest," said the statement.

India and South Korea are currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

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