New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday discussed economic cooperation with Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar in areas such as infrastructure development, energy, services and IT. Both sides also agreed to explore the possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
This visit is also the first by an Indian Foreign Minister to Mongolia after a long gap of 42 years.
“Mongolia is not only our strategic partner for India but also a spiritual neighbor. We share long historical links. Mongolia is well known in India for the valor of her kings and her strong Buddhist heritage,” the minister said.
Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar and Sushma Swaraj presided over the 6th Session of the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit in 2015, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister to Mongolia, provided a fresh impetus to our relations and qualitatively raised the level of engagement.
“We reviewed the progress in on-going collaborative projects, including the refinery project selected by the Government of Mongolia for implementation with the support of one billion dollar Indian Line of Credit,” the release stated.
Both sides also agreed to remove institutional and logistical impediments to boost trade, tourism and people to people contacts.
“We look forward to more students visiting India for pursuing vocational education & training under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation programme, also known as ITEC, and through scholarships offered by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. We would encourage students from Mongolia to pursue studies in Indian art, music and culture which would further reinforce our cultural links,” the minister said.
The minister also encouraged students from Mongolia to visit India for further study and research in the field of Buddhist studies.
Swaraj will be participating in a special event to commemorate the birth centenary of the Venerable 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, who was not only an eminent Buddhist leader, but also the longest serving Ambassador of India to Mongolia.
India was among the first countries, outside the erstwhile Communist bloc, to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia. In the six decades of this bilateral partnership, the relations between both the countries have grown from strength to strength.
(With Inputs from MEA)