India and Mongolia have agreed to step up cooperation in areas like air connectivity, trade and economic cooperation, energy security, mining and traditional medicine as part of sustained high-level bilateral exchanges, an official statement said on Sunday.
The decision was taken during Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's official visit to Mongolia from June 21-24, said the Home Ministry statement.
"During the bilateral talks the Home Minister held with the Mongolian leadership, both sides agreed on the need to step up cooperation in a number of areas such as air connectivity, trade and economy, energy security, mining, traditional medicine, animal husbandry, capacity building, education, people-to-people contacts, media exchanges and in films," the statement said.
Rajnath Singh called on President K. Battulga and held talks with Prime Minister U. Khurelsukh, Deputy Prime Minister U. Enkhtuvshin, and Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Ts. Nyamdorj on wide-ranging issues of bilateral interest, including cooperation between India and Mongolia in disaster risk reduction, border management, and capacity building programmes in security domain.
He, along with Khurelsukh, presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of Mongolia's first petrochemical refinery project, which India is assisting.
"The refinery will be built with a Line of Credit of $1 billion extended by India, which was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia in 2015. The Mongolian side expressed appreciation for India's support for this project. Both sides agreed that the refinery project will contribute to Mongolia's economic development and long-term energy security," the statement said.
The Home Minister also visited the headquarters of the Mongolian General Authority for Border Protection (GABP) and announced India's decision to provide a high capacity server for their main control centre in order to assist them in more efficient border management, said the statement, adding GABP and India's Border Security Force have ongoing exchanges and cooperation under an MoU signed in 2015.
Rajnath Singh's visit to Mongolia comes as a part of sustained high-level exchanges between the two countries. Most recently, Modi met with the Mongolian President on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China, on June 10. Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj paid an official visit to Mongolia on April 25-26.
India and Mongolia, joined by the common thread of Buddhism, are spiritual neighbours, the statement said, adding the relationship was upgraded to a Strategic Partnership in 2015 during Modi's visit, which coincided with the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations.