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Army Chief on 4-day trip to S Korea, visits cyber command & drone centres


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“The Army Chief also visited the Cyber Command, where he was briefed on the effective response to the increasingly advanced and sophisticated cyber threats,” the Army said on X. NEW DELHI: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Manoj Pande, on a four-day official visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), was on Thursday briefed at the demilitarised zone about the highly sensitive area.

The visit commenced on November 20, a historic day in India-South Korea relations: 73 years back, 60 Para Field Ambulance of the Indian Army landed in Busan on November 20, 1950, to provide much-needed medical support during the Korean War. “The Army Chief also visited the Cyber Command, where he was briefed on the effective response to the increasingly advanced and sophisticated cyber threats,” the Army said on X. Gen Pande also visited a drone combat unit and also was briefed on the border management and surveillance facility.

The Army Chief’s visit is significant from the defence production perspective and the geopolitical shift towards the Indo-Pacific. “The aim is to seek collaboration from South Korea in areas in which they are strong in defence manufacturing,” said a defence source. The Army said the itinerary of the COAS includes interactions with the senior military leadership of the ROK and visits to defence formations and establishments. The highlights of the tour include a bilateral meeting with General Park An-su, Chief of Staff, ROK Army besides a dialogue with General Kim Seung-kyum, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff of ROK Armed Forces. The interactions will be aimed at fostering mutual understanding, exchanging views on regional security situations and contributing to strengthening bilateral defence cooperation, said sources. He also interacted with senior officers of the ROK Army and received briefings on issues of mutual interest.

The engagements aimed to foster mutual understanding and contribute to the overarching security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region. Underlining the significance of Indo-Pacific, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar recently said that much was happening among 38 countries in the region, comprising Africa, Asia and Oceania. “This region is home to 64% of the global population and contributes 62% of the global GDP. Half of the global trade and 40% of oil pass through the Indo-Pacific region. In the context of Bharat, 90% of our trade and 80% of our critical freight needs — coal, petroleum & gas, iron ore and fertilizers — pass through the area,” he said.

The scheduled visits of COAS included establishments such as Defence Acquisition Programme Administration, the Korean Army Centre for Future and Innovation and the Agency for Defence Development at Daejeon. KARCFI is an organisation equivalent to DRDO in India. The COAS also paid tributes to the brave hearts in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial The bilateral relationship between the two countries was upgraded to a special strategic partnership after PM Modi’s visit in 2015. This visit will reinforce the robust defence ties between both countries. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)