Modi offers $1-bn credit to Mongolia, emphasises n-cooperation

Ulan Bator : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday offered Mongolia a $1-billion line of credit and equipment for cancer treatment.

“Today I conveyed to prime minister (of Mongolia, Chimed Saikhanbileg) our decision to provide $1 billion line of credit to develop institutions, infrastructure and human resource in Mongolia,” Modi announced while addressing the Mongolian parliament, which was convened specially for his visit on a Sunday.

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This is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the east Asian nation.

He also said that India would give Mongolia cancer treatment equipment as part of the two countries’ nuclear cooperation and announced the handing over of the Bhabhatron equipment that can help treat cancer in Mongolia.

“This will be the first demonstration of our cooperation in the civil nuclear sector,” he said.

As the first Indian prime minister of India to visit Mongolia, Modi reaffirmed the deep-rooted relations between the two countries.

“Around two thousand years ago, monks from India crossed difficult terrain and long distance to spread the message of Lord Buddha in this enchanting land. Many went from here to the hot tropics of India in search of spiritual knowledge,” he said.

“It is truly a great honour to speak to the Great Hural (Mongolian parliament). It is a special privilege to do so in the 25th year of democracy in Mongolia. You are the new bright light of democracy in our world.”

Expressing New Delhi’s friendship with Ulan Bator, Modi announced a series of steps towards security cooperation.

“Today, I will lay the foundation stone for the expansion and upgrading of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology,” he said.

“Our security cooperation is growing. We can learn a great deal from each other. No one can doubt the well-known skills of Mongols! We are proud to conduct defence exercises together. And, I am pleased that we have signed agreements today to cooperate more closely on border security and cyber security.”

“We have also agreed that India will help establish a cyber security centre in Mongolia’s defence and security establishment,” he said.

The prime minister also announced that India would increase the slots for Mongolia under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation from 150 to 200.

“We will also establish an India-Mongolia Joint School,” he said.

Dwelling on economic cooperation, Modi said that Mongolia’s rich mineral resources can fuel the partnership between the two countries.

“Mongolia’s rich mineral resources can fuel our partnership. And, I hope that location will not be a constraint on Mongolia’s right to choose its partners,” he said.

“We can seize the economic opportunities of the digital world and work together to make it more secure against growing cyber threats. We can use India’s expertise in dairy to launch a white revolution on these vast steppes.”

Modi also spoke about the scope for cooperation in the healthcare sector.

“We can create partnerships for affordable modern healthcare in Mongolia. We can use our heritage of traditional medicines to improve holistic treatment in our countries and abroad,” he said.

In the course of his speech, Modi emphasised the role Buddhism has played in unifying Asia as a region.

“Wherever I have travelled in Asia — from the edge of Pacific to the centre of the Indian Ocean; from the sea shores of Southeast Asia to the lofty heights of the Himalaya; from the thick forests of the tropics to the expanse of these steppes — I see thriving monuments and temples dedicated to Lord Buddha,” he said.

The prime minister said that whatever form of government each nation chooses, “we can still apply the principles of democracy in our engagement with each other”.

“Whatever path we have chosen, whatever be the history of our disputes, or the nature of our claims, we are linked by the common spiritual heritage across a vast arc of Asia,” Modi said.

“The convergence of Buddhism and democracy provides us a path to build an Asia of peace and cooperation, harmony and equality,” he added.