The Embassy of India celebrated the 69th Republic Day with fervor by hosting a reception at the Floating Island Convention, Sevit Island, Seoul on Jan. 26, 2018. More than 400 guests including senior dignitaries from the government, members of the National Assembly, provincial leadership, senior executives from Korean businesses, academia and diplomatic corps participated. Vice Minister Cho Hyun of Foreign Affairs was the chief guest and General Vincent K. Brooks, Commander of United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea was the guest of honour.
Extending a warm welcome to all the guests, Ambassador Vikram Doraiswami spoke about the importance of this year’s republic day celebration as it marks the 70th year of India’s Independence as well as the 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN dialogue partnership. He highlighted the progress made in the Special Strategic Partnership between India and South Korea over the past three years, which was visible from the visits at the highest level including the visit of Prime Minister. Ambassador said that the two democracies with a shared stake in peace, progress and a rules-based international order, there is every reason to work together to achieve the goal of peace, security and sustainable economic development. He also highlighted the progress in trade and investments front in varied sectors, ranging from electronics to food processing. (See excerpts from the speech of Amb. Doraiswami toward the end of this article.)
In his remarks Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun noted that India is a unique civilization with great diversity as its strength while Korea's homogeneity is its strength. In India there is unity in diversity and diversity in unity. He noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies are transforming India. Recalling Tagore's quote that Korea would be the Lamp that will light up the East, Ambassador Cho Hyun remarked that India will be the Lamp that will Light up the world.
The formal ceremony concluded with a Toast by General Vincent K Brooks and Mr Jeong Deok-min, Honorary Consul General of India in Busan. A cultural show on the theme India meets Korea followed. A fusion of music and dance - Indian Instruments Tabla & Sitar along with Korean drum Janggu and Kathak dance enthralled the guests.
Earlier in the day, Ambassador Vikram Doraiswami unfurled the national flag at the Embassy premises. During the celebrations that followed at the Indian Culture Centre, Ambassador read out the President address to the nation. It was followed by music and dance performances by ICC students. A total of about 150 guests including members of the Indian community attended the function.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Doraiswami:
Your Excellency, Vice Foreign Minister CHO HYUN;
Your Excellency, General BROOKES;
Congressman CHEUNG TAE OK;
Your Excellency Mayor HEO Seong-gon, Mayor of Gimhae: the city that is the gohyangi of millions of people from the KIM and HEO clans, who trace their ancestry to an Indian princess—making him the Mayor of one of the largest communities of Persons of Indian Origin and therefore oori Kajok, our family;
Excellencies, distinguished colleague Ambassadors, Dy Ministers from MoFA
Friends from Korea, India and from the expatriate community:
Annyeong Hasseubnikka. Jeo neun ju han Indo Daesa ibnida (which is something you probably guessed by now.)
Yirohkke choo-un nalssi e-do hamkke hae jusheosseo, jinshim eu ro gamsahabnida.
A heartfelt thank you for joining us on this cold evening. Shiljero, Oneul-eun neomu chubseubnida! Aigo, chuketta!
So my colleagues have done their best to offer you a warm Indian evening today—including Indian style Chai to warm you up. All of us will need a hot dinner soon—hot also as in spicy-- to make up for the freezing weather. Therefore I promise to reduce your suffering by keeping my speech brief.
First, let me wish everyone a happy, healthy and successful year ahead. As Korea prepares to bring the Winter Olympics back to Asia for the first time in 20 years, we look forward to a successful and enjoyable spectacle of sport: PyongChang Olympic ui Seonggong-eul giwon habnida.
And, hwang geum gaeddi ui hae, man sa hyeong tong hasi gil barabnida. Or, happy new year of the golden dog.
India marks the entry into force of our Constitution on this day, making India a Sovereign Republic. Hence the name, Republic Day. This particular Day is special. For one, it falls in the 70th year of India’s independence. For another, it marks the 25th anniversary of the India-ASEAN dialogue partnership, being celebrated specially through the presence in India of Their Excellencies the leaders of ASEAN, for the first time as Chief Guests at our Republic Day. And for a third reason, it also marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Ambassadorial relations between India and Korea.
On a lesser, personal note, this is also our last year in Korea, and yet it is my first national day celebration in Seoul.
And so, permit me to use this platform to take quick stock of three years of India-Korea relations.
On the positive side, a lot has happened. We have not only raised the level of the relationship to a Special Strategic Partnership, but our ties have expanded beyond strong trade and two way investment flows. There is greater breadth and depth to our ties than ever before.
Our Prime Minister and as many as eight of his senior Cabinet colleagues visited Korea separately in the past 3 years. We hosted the Speaker of our Parliament, the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of our Parliament, and the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. That apart, there have been ten Chief Ministerial and other visitors from our States, and innumerable visitors at Vice Ministerial level. Four navy vessels and two coast guard ships also visited Korea, and our defence institutions of higher learning have put Korea on their annual itinerary.
This litany of visits has of course helped keep our partner hotels in Seoul happy. In fact, we’ve never had quite as many visitors to Korea in our modern history. The fatigue writ large on the faces of my colleagues from our Embassy is eloquent testimony to the frequency of visits from home.
And not, as you might have thought, a reflection of their opinion of me.
I thank the Embassy Team and our incredibly committed Honorary CG in Busan for their faith and their hard-work.
And I am sure they will be the first to celebrate knowing that the queue of visiting dignitaries resumes shortly after the Seollal break.
Visits apart, our team’s efforts were rewarded last year by a 30% increase in trade—on both sides—for the first time in 6 years. Negotiations are ongoing for an upgrade of our comprehensive economic partnership agreement. Much more will happen when a mutually-beneficial new agreement is reached.
Investment flows have also shot up, most notably with KIA’s announcement last year of two new car manufacturing plants in India, and the follow-on investment by 20 of their tier-1 suppliers. Similar decisions in sectors ranging from electronics to food processing, textiles to energy, have helped nearly double contracted Korean FDI to India, within one short year.
Other highlights include the decision to triple existing flights services connecting India and Korea, and the offer of new destinations. And the decision to expand our defence partnership including procurement, research, manufacturing and military to military ties.
But then, at this three-year mark, I still wish we could have done more in both directions.
This year, India looks to welcoming high level visitors from Korea, including at high political levels. We also hope to raise our economic and trade relations significantly, as the Indian economy continues to record world-leading growth. This would be a good time for it, as our efforts receive recognition in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ratings. Or as other investors vote with their wallets: some $60bn in investment was committed in the year 2016-17.
Given the enormous opportunity that a rising Indian economy offers, I hope Korean friends will recognize that the next decades of growth can be secured for their businesses from a larger presence in India.
But it is more than just about money or trade. As democracies with a shared stake in peace, progress and a rules-based international order, there is every reason for us to work with Korea—and other partners—who seek a more fair and cooperative world order.
For, ladies and gentlemen, the road ahead remains difficult—not just for us, but for all States. As the Korean proverb reminds us, ppalli ka ryeo geodeun, hunja kago. Molli karyeo geodeun, hamkke kara...it is better to go further together, than to try to go faster by going alone. The goal of peace, security, and environmentally sustainable economic development is not beyond our reach. Nor is the objective of a better future for all of humanity.
Toward this end, India remains ready to work with all partners—most of all, in our shared South Asian home; with our region’s immediate neighbours in West Asia, Central Asia and Eurasia, South East Asia and Oceania; with our civilizational neighbours in Northeast Asia; with partners for development in Latin America and Africa; with long-standing partners in Europe and the Americas. The spirit that has inspired India for millennia—that all creation is one family (vasudhaiva kutumbakam)--is echoed in the teachings of all religions and all great cultures, including Korea’s own philosophy of hongik ingan.
Regardless of where each of us, this time next year, I am truly grateful for the opportunity Korea gave us to advance these goals, even if by just a little bit.
I hope the year ahead offers each one of you the same.
OL HAN HAE INDOWA HAMKKE MANSA HYEONG TONG HASIGIL BARABNIDA May your paths be blessed.
Historical account of relations between Korea and India:
By Coral Shree (Vallamai - E – Magazine)
We find it is timely to focus on India-Korea relationship from an economical, historical, cultural and linguistic point of views. By doing so we can bring these two economical powers of Asia closer for mutual prosperity and healthy relationships. The most dynamic and fastest growing economic region of the world today, and as two great countries of Asia, Korea and India, have roots in their common values and interests. So the ongoing transformation of Korea-India relationships is not only a mere coincidence. As we know Korean companies like Samsung, Hyundai and LG are now household names in India already as their products have found an important place in most of our homes. This is because of Korean companie's confidence in the fundamentals of the Indian economy and its growth potential, they are investing in a big way.
India maintained close trade and cultural relations with China by exporting coral, pearls, glass vessels and beads and in return importing jade and silk from China. Archaeologists have discovered Chinese coins made of copper or bronze in many places such as Mahabalipuram and Tanjavur in India as evidence. When ancient Indians refer to China, even though Korea had its own identity, it most probably included Korea as well, as there were times when it existed in truce with mighty Chinese dynasties in the past.
In 1836 a missionary explorer in New Zealand named William Colenso, found a bronze bell among the Ma-ori tribes with Tamil inscriptions (Mohoyideen Buk’s ship’s bell) indicating Tamil trader’s presence in the far east Asia.
Our India's past Ambassador, Parthasarathi, in Seoul is the author of a novel based on the old legend of an Indian princess marrying a Korean prince. In his novel he has pointed out several similarities between Korea and India such as Buddhism. The spread of Buddhism in South East and Far East Asia was essentially through the silk route established earlier by traders.
Myths play a vital role in every society in retaining communal memory over ages.
The legend of the Indian princess is narrated in Samguk Yusa which was set in the Kaya kingdom in the first century CE. It says, in the south central Korean peninsula, was first ruled by nine elders, but there was no king. One day, due to a voice spoke from heaven at a place called Kuji and by following that, a plum-coloured cord descended from heaven with a gold chest filled with six golden orbs which transformed into a baby boy. The boy grew quickly and reached a height of nine feet. He was now called Kim Suro came to the throne of Kaya. After two years he built his own palace and ruled from there.
When the king was adviced to take a bride he refused, saying that heaven had sent him to be king and heaven would take care of his marriage as well. At the same time in India, Huh Hwang-ok was a princess in 'Ayuta'. The princess says that she was 16 years old when she reached Kaya, that her family name was Huh and her name, Hwang-ok which means Yellow jade. She says, according to her parent's dream, in which God said, he has sent down Suro to be king of Kaya. Suro is a holy man, and is not yet married. So that their daughter had to become his queen'.
Huh is said to have arrived in Kaya, along with her brother Po-ok, on a ship with a red sail and red flag. When she was presented to the king, with treasure and gifts she told him of the dream and the king understood at once that this was heaven's chosen bride for him. As they were married in 49 CE and the queen was greatly loved by all her subjects and lived to the grand old age of 156! The couple had 10 sons and two daughters. Two of the sons were named Huh after their mother's family name and the rest were called Kims, after King Kim Suro.
Surprisingly, the same story in ancient Tamil literature the ‘Kuji’ mountainside is referred as ‘Kurunji’ and the prayer song “Guha, Guha” is practiced even today in Tamilnadu. Kurunji Ganam or the song of the mountains of Tamil Nadu resembles Kujiga . It is not a simple coincidence that the first Kingdom of Korea is named after Gaya where Buddha attained Nirvana. in celebration of his seven Buddhist monk sons reaching Nirvana. Queen Huh's 5-metre high earthen mound tomb still stands in the Gyeongsang (South) province of Korea. At this royal tomb of Gimhae, in an archaeological survey researchers found that Koreans have DNA traceable to South or South East Asian ethnic groups like Indian, Malaysian or Thai. The place of origin of Queen Huh needs further research.
As Korean historians found in Ayodhya paired fishes on the gates of Hindu temples, the gates of academies, government offices, military ranks, law enforcement helmets, and transportation registration centres and hence concluded that the state of Uttarpradesh. consider the possibility that Queen Huh might have come from South India rather than Uttarpradesh. But as they were not aware of the ancient Pandiyas ruled the South with fish as their ruling symbol in their flag and Silk Road by sea was dominated by Pandiyas and not by Mishras of North India.
Gimhae (Pandiyas) and Cholla (Cholas) suggest that these southern shores of Korea were visited by Pandiyas and Cholas from Tamilnadu in earlier times.
Thus, if a Pandiyan Queen of authority travelled with a name
Pavalambigai. Red Jade would have been called in ancient Korean as Huh Hwang-ok. Since then Koreans started calling their parents as Amma and Appa like Tamil people. Now more than 6000 tamil words have been used by Koreans in day to day life. If Queen Huh had reached the Korean shores from Ayodhya which is a Hindi speaking country they might not have called their parents as Amma and Appa. A portrait of Huh which is depicted at the royal tomb in Gimhae is a peculiar feature of Queen Huh who had a long ear lobe like women of Tamil country side which have been regarded as a sign of superior status and spiritual development .
As in Tamilnadu, in Korea also marriage is considered as an important relationship between families rather than individuals and also respect for elders. After the father the elder son has the responsibility for the family in Korea as in Tamilnadu and also ancestral worship is still a primary function in Korean families.
The staple diet for Koreans and Tamils is the same as rice . Several food items like rice cakes, rice puff, lentil cakes etc are similar in both cultures.
According to my knowledge Pandyan princess Pavalambigai might be the native of Kongu Nadu which is referred as Aykongu in ancient Italyan map.
Travelling several thousand miles alone in that olden days, a young woman needs to have guts and should be aware about her tradition as well as culture. The history shows that in Tamilnadu, Kongu Nadu women have their family responsibilities, religious practices, social relations and expert in agricultural work. Yes, there are some special properties for certain places. People who have appeared in some places have the unique characteristics of that place. It has been proved with Sangam Literature and archealogical evidences, cultural resemblences, traditions, Iron casting works, beads collection etc.
Kongunadu comprises the modern day districts of Coimbatore District, Nilgiri District, Tirupur District, Erode District, Namakkal District, Salem District, Karur District, parts of Dindigul District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and also parts of South-western India including parts of Palakkad District in the Kerala state and parts of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka state. The Western Ghats mountain range passes through the region with major rivers Kaveri, Bhavani, Amravati and Noyyal flowing through the region.
In order to find out the exact silky route of the Princess, Universities and Research Institutes in Tamilnadu should focus more on topics dealt in this article. Substantial research is due.
Surprisingly, we could find some evidences regarding this interesting research at Bhavani, a small town near Erode, Kongu nadu with a main river of the same name.
Bhavani, which is the second longest river in Tamil Nadu and a major tributary of the Kaveri River is a major river in Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, India. Bhavani river originates from Nilgiri hills of the Western Ghats and 217-kilometre long . 0.62 million hectares of area spread over Tamil Nadu (87%), Kerala (9%) and Karnataka (4%) have been watershed by Bhavani river. The majority river courses mainly through Coimbatore district and Erode district in Tamil Nadu. About 90 per cent of the river's water is used for agriculture irrigation.
Bhavanisagar dam which is located on the Bhavani river in Erode district, Tamil Nadu, India is one of the largest earthen dams in the world. This dam is situated some 16 km west of Sathyamangalam and 35 km from Gobichettipalayam. The Lower Bhavani Project was the first major irrigation project initiated in India after independence in 1948.
Once upon a time in ancient days people say Bhavani river was flooded many times. During this flood Gautama Bhudda's daughter Sangamithirai drowned in this river. Evidences for this local belief should be searched through researches. There is also a strong belief that in ancient days one of the charroits of a princess was drowned in this Bhavani river with full of valuable wealths. Even now some people take much pain to find out this charriot illegally. This might also be taken in to account for research.
Anthiyur near Bhavani, Erode is a major horse market in Tamil Nadu. It has a very long history for attracting buyers from Arabia too, long back.
Near Bhavani we could find some more evidences like Pandya thittu (stage), ancient village temples with Pandya fish symbols, beads collecting areas etc...
At Bhavani every year they celebrate mud festival as like Korean festival, that too around the same time! Its really a much surprising news for Korea - India relationship researchers!
A thorough study of the ancient and ethnically enhanced Kongunadu for more than three thousand years is an essential requirement for the excavation. Kodumanal excavations and Pattinam excavations prove this. The ruined old towns of Kongu Nadu are the longest paths of their domestic overseas trade with their Jain Buddhist Pilgrimage through Waterway, landway and seaway. If new study of weaving and iron casting industry has been made possible, it can be proved that both South Kongu and Gaya had been developed relatively by Tamil merchants.
The hypothesis is that the idea that Tamil bhuddism might have been introduced by the tamil traders, particularly by the Aykongu traders in the Gaya country of 50 BC.
There is another assumption that the iron weapons, statues made of melted gold and the iron casting made in kongunadu spreaded in kadaram and the Korean's Gaya country, from which the Koreans made the iron weapons like sword. Through tamil traders iron casting, colour beads, red corals, golden ornaments might have been exported to korea.
Tamil traders, for their business purpose introduced Buddha's numerical routes to Afghanistan in the northwest of India and introduced it to Tamil Nadu and neighboring northern Sri Lanka. Tamil traders who became the Buddhist witnesses to the Tamil Buddhist Ministries prior to Ashoka introduced the Buddha's propagation.
Before the advent of Ashoka's bhuddism Tamil Buddhism could reach Korea and collect data to spread and the Tamil Buddhism went to Korea through China. Korean researchers also have reported that it is possible that the girl might have crossed the sea in the western direction of South Korea and married Gaya king.