Kovind hosts Mongolian president, says both countries are 'spiritual neighbours'

New Delhi, India Updated: Sep 20, 2019, 10:44 PM IST
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President Ram Nath Kovind. Photograph:(AFP)

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Welcoming Mongolian president Battulga to India, the President said this is the first visit of a Mongolian president in the last 10 years.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday hosted his Mongolian counterpart Khaltmaagiin Battulga over a banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan and expressed confidence that the latter's visit will be a milestone in India-Mongolia bilateral ties.

Welcoming Battulga to India, the President said this is the first visit of a Mongolian president in the last 10 years.

Kovind said India greatly values its close and friendly relations with Mongolia.

"We are not just 'strategic partners' but also 'spiritual neighbours' connected by our shared Buddhist heritage," the President said in a statement released by his office.

He was also happy to note that bilateral relations between the two countries are now expanding into economic cooperation in several areas such as infrastructure, space and digital connectivity.

Both sides further reviewed cooperation in the fields of cybersecurity, information technology, disaster management, mining and animal husbandry, the statement said.

The two countries signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in areas regarding disaster management and risk reduction, and cooperation and usage of outer space for peaceful and civilian purposes.

They also secured a comprehensive work plan for cooperation in the field of animal health and dairy.

Kovind appreciated Mongolia for its consistent support to India's candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

He also appreciated Mongolia's decision to join the International Solar Alliance and said this will strengthen the partnership in the renewable energy sector and help the two countries combat climate change.

Subsequently, in his banquet speech, Kovind said the "centuries-old people-to-people exchanges have been the bedrock of our ties".

"Buddhist monks and traders from India travelled to Mongolia with the message of peace, harmony and friendship. Similarly, over the ages, Mongolian scholars and pilgrims came to India in pursuit of Buddhist studies and spiritual blessings. This ageless tradition continues. India, today, is privileged to host around 800 Mongolian students engaged in Buddhist studies," Kovind said.

Battulga received a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier today. He arrived in India on a five-day visit with an aim to intensifying bilateral ties between the two countries.

He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two jointly unveiled the statue of Lord Buddha at Gandan Monastery via video conference.