Defense Minister Rajnath Singh meets with senior Mongolian leaders to strengthen bilateral relations
Rajnath Singh, India’s first defense minister to visit Mongolia, met with the country’s top leaders including President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Tuesday and discussed ways to further deepen the multifaceted strategic partnership between the two countries.
Defense Minister Singh is on a five-day visit to Mongolia and Japan from Monday in a bid to expand India’s strategic and defense ties with the two countries amid the evolving regional security matrix and geopolitical unrest.
Singh’s visit to Mongolia from September 5-7 is the first-ever tour to the East Asian country by an Indian defense minister.
“Excellent meeting with the President of Mongolia, HEU Khurelsukh in Ulaanbaatar. Recalled my last meeting with him in 2018, when he was Prime Minister of the country. We are fully committed to further deepening our multi-faceted strategic partnership with Mongolia,” he said in a tweet.
“Happy to interact with the Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament, Mr. Zandanshatar. I commended him for his constant support in promoting and expanding our common heritage of Buddhism,” he said in another tweet.
Earlier, Singh and his Mongolian counterpart Saikhanbayar Gursed had held in-depth deliberations on the need to give fresh impetus to India-Mongolia defense cooperation.
“During @DefenceMinIndia’s first ever visit to Mongolia, Hon. Sh @rajnathsingh received the guard of honor and had in-depth discussions with Mongolian Defense Minister General Saikhanbayar to intensify cooperation in defense matters and consolidate the strategic partnership,” the Indian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar tweeted.
During the very first visit to Mongolia by @DefenceMinIndia, Hon. Sh @rajnathsingh received the guard of honor and had extensive discussions with #MongolianDefenceMinister General Saikhanbayar, to intensify defense cooperation and consolidate strategic partnership@MEAIndia @MongolDiplomacy pic.twitter.com/PVnBlM9nsq
— India in Mongolia (@IndiainMongolia) September 6, 2022
From Mongolia, the Minister of Defense will travel to Japan for a two-day visit from September 8 to 9. The ‘2+2’ dialogue is due to take place on September 8. The dialogue comes more than five months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan Summit.
Announcing Singh’s visit to Mongolia on Sunday, the Defense Ministry said it will further consolidate defense cooperation and strategic partnership between the two countries.
“Both democracies have a common interest in fostering peace and prosperity throughout the region,” the ministry said in a statement.
He said that India and Mongolia share a strategic partnership and defense is a key pillar of this partnership.
Bilateral defense engagements with Mongolia have expanded over time to include numerous contacts between the two countries, including joint task force meetings, military-to-military exchanges, and capacity building and training programs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to Mongolia in May 2015, bringing renewed vigor to ties in various fields, including defense and security.
During the visit, India announced a $1 billion line of credit to Mongolia for infrastructure development and strengthened its ties with the strategic partnership. The India-Mongolia joint military exercise “Nomadic Elephant” is held every year.
The last two editions of the exercise were held in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) in September 2018 and in October 2019 in Himachal Pradesh.