With East Asia on the radar, India seeks a deeper foothold in Mongolia during Rajnath Singh’s visit
India is seeking to establish a deeper foothold in Mongolia with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s two-day visit to Mongolia on Monday.
Singh’s visit is part of India’s broader strategy in East Asia. With Mongolia sharing borders with Russia and China, India is seeking a stronger connection with Ulaanbaatar as the third major player. Japan also wants to forge better relations with Mongolia
The defense minister will build on two crucial initiatives taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country in 2015.
Following Prime Minister Modi’s visit, India has become a key player in ensuring Mongolia’s energy security. India has extended $1.2 billion credit to Mongolia which is being used to build a large oil refinery. The refinery in Dornogobi province will cover 75% of the country’s energy needs once commissioned in 2025.
Attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony of an Oil Refinery at Altanshiree Soum in Dornogobi Province with the Prime Minister of Mongolia, Mr. U Khurelsukh. This refinery project was financed by the Indian government through a billion dollar line of credit. pic.twitter.com/tH6xKSvoDn
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 22, 2018
“The refinery will meet 75% of Mongolia’s needs. The country sources its fossil fuels from its largest neighbor and traditional ally, Russia. India is also helping Mongolia build its rail and power infrastructure to help transport Mongolia’s mineral wealth,” the Mongolian news site news.mn reported in early April.
India is also setting up a cybersecurity center in Mongolia, which Singh will inaugurate during his visit.
Amb. MP Singh had a fruitful discussion with the new Defense Minister and exchanged views on enhancing India-Mongolia defense cooperation, especially accelerating Cyber Security Training Center project , IT, capacity building and peacekeeping.@MEAIndia@DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/1ZuwbnNsGT
— India in Mongolia (@IndiainMongolia) August 18, 2020
Relations between India and Mongolia are built on a solid cultural foundation, as both countries benefit from their common heritage of Buddhism.
In June, a 25-member delegation led by Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju traveled to Ulaanbaatar with the ceremonial casket of holy Buddhist relics. The visit was timed with the Mongolian Buddh Purnima celebrations which took place on June 14th.
The sacred relics of the Buddha, which were kept in the National Museum in New Delhi, are known as the “Kapilvastu relics” because they come from a site in Bihar first discovered in 1898, believed to be the ancient city of Kapilvastu.
Mongolia | A delegation led by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju with four holy relics of Lord Buddha arrives at Ganden Tegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar
This is a very special gesture from GoI. The main Buddha statue here is donated by Prime Minister Modi in 2015: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju pic.twitter.com/QHiXdlPeQv
— ANI (@ANI) June 13, 2022
Airlifted to the Mongolian capital in a special Indian Air Force C-17 Globe Master, the relics were given state guest status. Both relics were housed in bulletproof casings.
A government press release said the defense minister would meet with Mongolian defense minister Lt. Gen. Saikhanbayar. He will visit the President of Mongolia, U. Khurelsukh and the Chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia, . G Zandanshatar. “Both democracies have a common interest in fostering peace and prosperity throughout the region,” the statement said.
Read also : Kiren Rijiju leaves in a special IAF plane for Mongolia with the relics of the Holy Buddha