ULAAN BAATAR, Aug 1 � In the past, the Mongol empire stretched from Asia to Europe thanks to military tactics built around the imaginative use of cavalry and archers.
Today, the nation�s boundaries may be significantly shorter, but the spirit to overcome odds and the will to excel in what they do mark the people of Mongolia.
These are likely to be formidable mantras to usher in rapid economic growth by use of its rich mineral resources which are now coming into view.
A group of labourers at a construction site in Ulaan Baatar can speak no English, but a local resident comes forward to interpret. The workers say Mongolia cannot sit idle while the rest of the world moves on. One of them brings up the name of Chinggis Khan, whose domain was bigger than that of Alexander the Great.
It is no surprise that the capital city�s international airport is named after the Mongol hero. Actually, a number of brands use his name. There are apparels, hotels, a video game and even a vodka named after the larger-than life warrior who died in 1227 AD.
Locals say that there has been an attempt to use the Khaan�s name to create a rallying point to foster Mongol nationalism. If successful, it might in due course reshape the destiny of the landlocked country, which occupies vital strategic space between Russia to the North and China to the South.
Considerable deposits of coal, copper, gold, apart from the possibility of possessing rare earths make Mongolia an attractive destination for investors. China and Russia have already secured a niche, and India appears to be interested too. Revenues from such resources are certain to contribute to Mongolia�s development, especially in creating infrastructure and healthcare.
Health as an issue is beginning to get attention in Mongolia, and the people expect to have better facilities in cities and smaller rural settlements. Indian healthcare providers are in a position to provide the knowledge, skill and infrastructure � a gesture of goodwill that can bring tangible benefits to people.
Education is the other area of special attention. According to young Mongolians, India should extend support in education sector and establish schools �to teach English and computing skills.� They believe such efforts will strengthen the partnership between the two countries in the days ahead.
The other major areas of collaboration could be agriculture and dairy farming. Mongolia has rolling steppes which require innovative farming technology along with around 30 million cattle, presenting an economic prospect rare in Northern Asia.