ULAAN BAATAR, July 28 � India and Mongolia, two nations occupying strategic geo-political locations, today laid the foundation for closer ties in a number of key areas. Among the sectors which will see rapid consolidations are defence, culture, and economic planning, contained in three bilateral agreements signed by senior officials in the presence of the Indian and Mongolian Presidents.
The official meeting between the two Heads of State lasted close to half an hour, and have been described as highly productive and meaningful. They also met for the signing of the agreements after the Indian President was presented with a guard of honour in front of the Government Palace located north of Sukhbaatar Square in central Ulaan Baatar.
The Indian President has stated that her visit of Mongolia seeks to build on the mutually beneficial ties which already exist between the two countries with ancient cultural associations. The Indian first lady has also appreciated Mongolias democratic credentials.
Although the exact details about the agreements have not been spelled out, closer defence collaborations are expected in the form of training of Mongolian soldiers and officers
and joint exercises involving components of both the armed forces.
A senior Indian official accompanying the Presidential delegation referred to the agreement as an enabling document that would help explore and establish collaborative possibilities on a wide range of defence matters with shared strategic interests.
The second agreement relates to economic planning, and will augment Mongolia�s efforts to optimize resource use and equip the planning apparatus with India�s vast experience. The country has already constituted a National Development and Innovation Committee, and has expressed a desire to learn from India, an Indian Government official told The Assam Tribune.
On the cultural front, the third agreement identifies the empowering role of the media, and envisages exchange programmes to let people of both the countries know about each others advances in varied fields through media channels.
To boost people to people contact, the Indian President underlined the crucial need for better air connectivity between the countries, and even urged the local Indian business community to think of solutions to this effect. So far there is no direct flight between the two national capitals, which adds to travel time and cost of airfare.
Addressing the Indian media contingent accompanying the President, Secretary East, Sanjay Singh described India-Mongolia ties as multifaceted, which can now better manifest in several areas like education, agriculture, science and technology, prospecting for minerals, among others. A few Indian companies have started prospecting for precious metals in parts of Mongolia, and some more have evinced interest.
According to official sources, Mongolia is keen to secure Indian support and collaboration in education and skill training for its youth. India has set up several training centres and is likely to shore up its aid and assistance in the area of agriculture and dairy development. Around 20 million USD will be spent to establish centres in Mongolia which will outsource IT services.
With the intent to resurrect the country�s ancient links with Mongolia, India has recently decided to increase the number of scholarships on offer to students from Mongolia. A decision has also been taken to issue five-year visas to monks from the country who would wish to study in India.