Mongolia is an integral part of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, says Modi

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modi-in-mongolia Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 May said India will open a $1 billion credit line to bolster Mongolia’s “economic capacity and infrastructure”.

Modi held talks with his Mongolian counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg following which the duo signed 14 agreements covering defence, cyber security, agriculture, renewable energy and health sector.

“I am pleased to announce India will provide a line of credit to support Mangolia’s expansion economic capacity and infrastructure,” Modi said at a joint press interaction with Saikhanbileg at State Palace.

He said, “It is a privilege to come on the occasion of two milestones that unite us — 25 years of democracy in Mongolia and 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Mongolia.’

Asserting that Mongolia is an integral part of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, he said the destinies of the two countries are closely linked with the future of Asia Pacific Region.

Before proceeding to the State Palace, Modi visited the Gandan Tengchilin Monastery in Ulan Bator and met chief abbot, Hamba Lama. Modi lighted incense and offered prayers at the monastery and later gifted a Bodhi plant to the chef abbott. Lamba took Modi by the hand around the monastery

Modi said he hoped his visit would bring closer economic ties that could lead to cooperation in Mongolia’s minerals sector. India has no investments in Mongolia’s mines, although Indian firms have expressed interest in its coal.

Mongolia will seek investment in infrastructure for transport of its minerals in generating energy. Money has been tight for its government since the coal market in China weakened and growth has slowed.

India has a strong linkage of Buddhism and democracy with Mongolia and was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with it.

India feels that there is excellent potential for cooperation with Mongolia in the minerals sector. Mongolia is mineral-rich country in coking coal, copper, rare earths and uranium.

India already has a civil nuclear agreement with Mongolia which provides for uranium exports to the country once the domestic laws here permit prospecting and mining.

“We can work together to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in this region,” he said. “In a reflection of our commitment to further deepen our relationship, we have decided to upgrade our Comprehensive Partnership to ‘Strategic Partnership’,” Modi added. The Indian PM also thanked Mongolia for its strong support for India’s permanent membership of UN Security Council.

Later, Modi got the rare honour of addressing the Mongolian Parliament, the first by a foreign visitor. In a specially convened session, he said that he was humbled by the privilege accorded to him. During the visit, Modi also attended a open-air festival with displays of wrestling, horse riding and archery.

After his address, Modi will meet President Elbegdorj, who will host a banquet in his honour.  The visit will also see the laying of foundation stone for the Information Technology Centre.

On Monday morning, Modi will leave for Seoul as part of his three-nation tour.

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