India–North Korea relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
India–North Korea relations
Map indicating locations of India and North Korea


North Korea

India and North Korea have growing trade and diplomatic relations. India maintains an embassy in Pyongyang, and North Korea has an embassy in New Delhi.

India is one of North Korea's biggest trade partners and a major food aid provider.[1] According to CII, India's exports to North Korea in 2013 totalled more than US$60 million.[2]

However, India is a critic of North Korea's nuclear proliferation record and has also voiced concerns over its military relationship with arch-rival Pakistan and North Korea's support towards Pakistan on the Kashmir conflict.[3] India has repeatedly condemned North Korean nuclear tests and views its nuclear programme as a threat to regional security.[4][5]

India strongly supported UN resolutions and military operations against North Korea during the Korean War. However, India has said that it wants the "reunification" of Korea.[6] According to 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 23% of Indians view North Korea's worldly influence positively, with 27% expressing a negative view.[7]


Pre-modern relations[edit]

According to the 13th century chronicle Samguk Yusa, the ancient Korean queen Heo Hwang-ok came from a kingdom called "Ayuta". One theory identifies Ayuta as Ayodhya in India.[8] In 2001, a Korean delegation inaugurated a memorial to the queen in Ayodha.[9]

A famous Korean visitor to India was Hyecho, a Korean Buddhist monk from Silla, one of the three Korean kingdoms of the period. On the advice of his Indian teachers in China, he set out for India in 723 CE to acquaint himself with the language and culture of the land of the Buddha. He wrote a travelogue of his journey in Chinese, Wang ocheonchukguk jeon or "An account of travel to the five Indian kingdoms". The work was long thought to be lost. However, a manuscript turned up among the Dunhuang manuscripts during the early 20th century.

A rich merchant from the Ma'bar Sultanate, Abu Ali (P'aehali) 孛哈里 (or 布哈爾 Buhaer), was associated closely with the Ma'bar royal family. After falling out with them, he moved to Yuan dynasty China and received a Korean woman as his wife and a job from the Mongol Emperor, the woman was formerly 桑哥 Sangha's wife and her father was 蔡仁揆 채송년 Ch'ae In'gyu during the reign of 忠烈 Chungnyeol of Goryeo, recorded in the Dongguk Tonggam, Goryeosa and 留夢炎 Liu Mengyan's 中俺集 Zhong'anji.[10][11] 桑哥 Sangha was a Tibetan.[12]

Korean War[edit]

India condemned North Korea as an aggressor when the Korean War started, supporting Security Council resolutions 82 and 83 on the crisis. However, India did not support resolution 84 for military assistance to South Korea. As a non-aligned country, India hesitated to involve itself in a military commitment against North Korea. Instead, India gave its moral support for the UN action and decided to send a medical unit to Korea as a humanitarian gesture. The 60th Indian Field Ambulance Unit, a unit of the Indian Airborne Division, was selected to be dispatched to Korea. The unit consisted of 346 men including 14 doctors.[13]

India was chair of the 9-member UN Commission that monitored elections in undivided Korea in 1947. After the Korean War, India again played an important role as the chair of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission in the Korean peninsula. India established consular relations with North Korea in 1962 and in 1973, established full diplomatic relations with it.[14] India's relationship with North Korea has however been affected by North Korean relations with Pakistan especially due to its help for Pakistan's nuclear missile programme. In 1999, India impounded a North Korean ship off the Kandla coast that was found to be carrying missile components and blueprints. India's relations with South Korea have far greater economic and technological depth and India's keenness for South Korean investments and technology have in turn affected it's relations with the North adversely. India has consistently voiced its opposition to North Korean nuclear and missile tests.[15][16]

Economic relations[edit]


Trade between India and North Korea has seen a large increase in recent years. From an average total trade of barely $10 million in the middle of the 2000s, it shot up to $60 million in 2013. The trade is overwhelmingly in India's favour, with its exports accounting for roughly $60 million while North Korean exports to India were worth $36 million. India's primary export to North Korea is refined petroleum products while silver and auto parts are the main components of its imports from North Korea.[17] India participated in the sixth Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair in October 2010 and there have been efforts to bring about greater economic cooperation and trade between the two countries since then.[14][16] In 2010–11, Indo-North Korean trade stood at $57 million with India's exports accounting for $32 million.[18][19]

Food aid[edit]

In 2002 and 2004, India contributed 2000 tonnes of food grains to help North Korea tide over severe famine like conditions. In 2010, India responded to North Korea's request for food aid and made available to it 1300 tonnes of pulses and wheat worth $1 million through the UN World Food Programme.[20][21]

Recent visits[edit]

On 23 April 2015 North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong visited New Delhi, capital of the Republic of India for talks with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on North Korea’s nuclear programme and to request additional humanitarian assistance but no agreement was reached because of the recent North Korean statement in support of Pakistan.[22]


  1. ^ Why Does India Have Relations With North Korea?, IBTimes, December 30 2011
  2. ^ Look Who's Helping North Korea, Forbes, Nov 2010
  3. ^ India raises nuclear proliferation issue with North Korea, livemint, Jul 01 2013
  4. ^ India says North Korea nuclear test "of deep concern", Reuters, Feb 12, 2013
  5. ^ Kim's death: Will India-North Korea ties improve?, NDTV, December 20, 2011
  6. ^
  7. ^ Negative views of Russia on the Rise: Global Poll
  8. ^ Choong Soon Kim (16 October 2011). Voices of Foreign Brides: The Roots and Development of Multiculturalism in Korea. AltaMira Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7591-2037-2. 
  9. ^ "Korean memorial to Indian princess". BBC News. 2001-05-03. 
  10. ^ Angela Schottenhammer (2008). The East Asian Mediterranean: Maritime Crossroads of Culture, Commerce and Human Migration. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-3-447-05809-4. 
  11. ^ SEN, TANSEN. 2006. “The Yuan Khanate and India: Cross-cultural Diplomacy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries”. Asia Major 19 (1/2). Academia Sinica: 317.
  12. ^ Shaykh 'Âlam: the Emperor of Early Sixteenth-Century China p. 15.
  13. ^ Kim Chan Wahn. "The Role of India in the Korean War", International Area Studies Review, June 2010; vol. 13(2), pp. 21–37.
  14. ^ a b "The food bridge India built with Kim's Korea". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Kim's death: Will India-North Korea ties improve?". NDTV. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "North Korea's rocket launch unwarranted: India". The Hindu. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Look Who's Helping North Korea". Forbes Magazine. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "How much it will affect India-North Korea ties". Nav Hind Times. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "India – DPR Korea Relations" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "India Gives Food Aid as U.S.-SK Think". Daily NK. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "India's secret-ish romance with North Korea". Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  22. ^ "India’s Ties With North Korea Cordial but Limited". 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-12-23.