NEW DELHI: The recent Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit that took place in Singapore was accepted by India, being described as a “positive development” by New Delhi. A Ministry of External Affairs statement evinced hope the “outcomes would be implemented, thus paving the way for lasting peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”
The MEA’s reaction manifested India's interest in the summit — “We also hope that the resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue will take into account and address our concerns about proliferation linkages extending to India’s neighbourhood."
Why does it matter to us?
The upside for the Singapore summit is that direct relations between North Korea and the US will deter China’s influence somewhat, though not completely.
India's relationship with North Korea
Foes. In the past, there have been some issues between India and North Korea. To name a few, India blamed North Korea for selling nuclear tech to Pakistan and voting for sanctions at the UN. We are now hoping that denuclearisation would help to expose the proliferation conduits between North Korea, China and Pakistan, which has been responsible for embarking Pakistan on its missile race. India also has a stated policy of not wanting to add more nuclear weapons states to the world.
Friends. India also has a history of helping North Korea. In times when they needed it, we sent them food, and they have also responded to us when the 2004 tsunami struck, by donating $30,000. We have trained North Korea’s military officers, people in technology and their diplomats at our institutes.
India used to be the third largest trading partner for North Korea, until sanctions caused India to back down. Although most of those sanctions remain, India is looking to grab whatever opportunity comes its way.
Friends or foes?
It is certain that India and North Korea are not enemies. India had approached North Korea a few weeks before the Trump-Kim summit, with minister VK Singh in Pyongyang last month in the first high-level visit since 1998. Singh’s visit inferred North Korea to be a ‘friendly country’.
If North Korea comes back to the mainstream, it will help us.