NEW DELHI: In a bid to strengthen India’s relation with Mongolia, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday left for his maiden three-day visit to the strategically important East Asian country that shares its boundaries with China and Russia. The minister in his pre-departure message said India wanted to realise the huge potential of bilateral relations with Mongolia.
“Leaving for Ulaanbaatar on a 3 day visit to Mongolia. Looking forward to further India’s relations with Mongolia and strengthen security cooperation. Mongolia is an important strategic partner. India wants to realise the huge potential of bilateral relations with Mongolia,” Singh tweeted.
He will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of an oil refinery at Ulaanbaatar on Friday, a Home Ministry spokesperson said, adding that the minister will also attend a reception hosted by Mongolian Prime Minister on the same day. Singh will call upon Mongolian president on June 23, the spokesperson said.
The Home Minister will also visit a Buddhist monastery and hold a meeting with his counterpart and minister for justice and interior affairs on Saturday. He is expected to visit the headquarters of Mongolia’s Border Protection Force before returning to Delhi on June 24.
The home minister’s visit is likely to further intensify bilateral relations in key areas. India was the first country outside the then socialist bloc to establish diplomatic ties with Mongolia on December 24, 1955. India had supported Mongolia in getting United Nations and Non-Aligned Movement berths. Both the countries also share common concerns on terrorism.
In 2015, Narendra Modi had visited the country, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also visited the country in April this year and discussed economic cooperation in infrastructure development, energy, services and information technology with her Mongolian counterpart.
The two countries agreed to explore the possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. Swaraj was the first Indian foreign minister to visit the resource-rich country in 42 years.