India has announced a credit line of US$1 billion to Mongolia to expand its economic capacity and infrastructure. This forms part of a decision to upgrade the relationship between the two countries from ‘Comprehensive’ to ‘Strategic Partnership’.

Narendra Modi this month became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia where he held wide ranging talks with Mongolian PM Chimed Saikhanbileg following which the two countries signed agreements covering defence, cyber security, agriculture, renewable energy and health.

Prime Minister Modi said: “I am pleased to announce that India will provide a Line of Credit of $1 billion to support expansion of Mongolia’s economic capacity and infrastructure.” He said that the destinies of the two countries were closely linked with the future of the Asia Pacific region.

“We can work together to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in this region. In a reflection of our commitment to further deepen our relationship, we have decided to upgrade our Comprehensive Partnership to Strategic Partnership,” he said.

“It is a special privilege to come on the occasion of two important milestones that unite us - 25 years of democracy in Mongolia and 60 years of diplomatic relations between our two nations.”

Commenting on his counterpart’s remarks that India is the “spiritual neighbour and third neighbour” of Mongolia, Mr Modi said, “We will always fulfil the responsibility that comes with this honour.

“I was very pleased with my discussions. We have strong convergence of views on bilateral relations and our regional and international partnership. The agreements that we have just signed speak to the depth of the relationship. These cover economic relations, development partnership, defence and security, and people-to-people contacts.”

He said the cooperation between National Security Councils of the two countries would provide a strategic framework for cooperation. India will also help establish a cyber-security centre in Mongolia’s defence and security establishment.

Noting that the trade and investment relations between two countries are modest, Mr Modi said, “We will take our economic partnership to a new level.

There is huge potential in the nuclear sector, mining, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and dairy. We should also explore the possibilities of using digital technology to expand our economic relations.”

India has a strong linkage of Buddhism and democracy with Mongolia and was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with it.

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