Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said mineral-rich Mongolia could benefit from India's expertise and high growth while praising the Buddhist country as the new bright light of democracy in the world. He is the first ever Indian premier to visit Mongolia.
Modi, who was given a rare honour by Mongolia to address its Parliament on Sunday, a holiday, said, "I bring the greetings of your 1.25 billion spiritual neighbours. There is no higher form of a relationship; no bonds more sacred than this. We in India are honoured that you think of us this way."
Modi said India and Mongolia are at important juncture because the two countries are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations and Mongolia is celebrating 25 years of democracy.
"Mongolia is the new bright light of democracy in our world," Modi told the lawmakers at the State Great Hural -- the Parliament Ulan Bator.
"Today, Indians and Mongolians are telling the world that the bonds of hearts and minds have the strength to overcome the barriers of distance," he said, adding friendship between them will give lessons and hold lessons for the whole world.
He appreciated Mongolia's solidarity with India at the United Nations Security Council and said their relations will work towards progress. "In turn, time and again, you have stood in solidarity with us, in the UN and elsewhere," he said.
The prime minister said the 14 agreements signed between two sides on Sunday would enhance bilateral cooperation in areas including border security and cyber security.
He said a cyber security centre will be established for Mongolia's defence sector and announced the establishment of 'India Mongolia Joint School' in Ulan Bator.
"We can seize the economic opportunities of the digital world and work together to make it more secure against growing cyber threats," he said.
"At a time when the global economy remains weak, the world speaks in one voice that India is the bright spot of hope to become the new locomotive for global economic momentum," Modi said.
He said that in less than a year, India's growth has rebounded to 7.5 per cent and it has emerged as one of the fastest growing major economies in the world and it has the potential to grow even faster.
"As the Indian economy adds strength to our region and the world, it will also benefit Mongolia," he said.
Describing Mongolia's economic growth as impressive, Modi said, "Our bilateral ties will also grow, despite the distance and demands of geography."
Mongolia's rich mineral resources can fuel the partnership, Modi said, and hoped that location will not be a constraint on its right to choose its partners.
India and Mongolia came out strongly against the "double standards" and "selectivity"
of the international community in dealing with terrorism and hoped that all safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorists will be wiped out without delay.
Modi held wide-ranging discussions with his Mongolia counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg at the State Palace, pleading to take bilateral ties to a new level.
"Both the prime ministers noted that the nature and spread of international terrorism in recent years poses a threat to all humanity and requires global resolve and cooperative measures of the international community without double standards or selectivity," said a joint statement inked by the two leaders at the end of the talks.
"The prime ministers expressed hope that all safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorists will be wiped out without delay," the statement added.
"Today, Mongolia is also an integral part of India's Act East Policy," Modi said at a joint press meet with the Mongolian premier after bilateral talks.
"The destinies of India and Mongolia are closely linked with the future of Asia Pacific region. We can work together to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in this region," he said.
Earlier in the day, Modi handed over a Bodhi tree sapling to Hamba Lama (Chief Abbott) of the Gandan Tegchilen monastery in the
Mongolian capital. He went to the Gir shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha.
The Hamba Lama D Choijamts held the prime ministers hand and took him around Vajra Tara temple where the Indian leader paid obeisance.
Modi was taken to the sacred library at the temple which has exhibits of old sacred books.
The PM did a parikrama at the Janraisag monastery.
Gandan is the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia. Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continue to function even during the Communist period.