India extends $1-bn credit line to Mongolia

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Following delegation-level bilateral talks led by Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh and Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren here on Thursday, India extended a line of credit (LoC) of $1 billion to Mongolia.

The two countries also agreed to exchange sentenced persons.

“On track for the future. India & Mongolia sign agreements for US$1 bn LoC & exchange of prisoners,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mongolia in May last year during which he announced the LoC for economic expansion and infrastructure development and the two sides signed 14 agreements.

This was the first prime ministerial visit from India to Mongolia.

Modi said that Mongolia was an integral part of India’s Act East policy.

Minister of State Singh participated in Thursday’s talks on India’s behalf as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is indisposed.

According to a statement issued by the external affairs ministry, the visit of Purevsuren is part of the intensified bilateral exchanges following the upgrade of bilateral relations during Modi’s visit.

“During that visit the relationship was upgraded to strategic partnership and a series of important agreements including in the defence and security fields were signed,” the statement said.

It also said that as part of ongoing high level exchanges, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan visited Mongolia earlier this month.

“The visit helped to consolidate parliamentary exchanges and underscored the shared bonds of democracy which further strengthen bilateral relations based on age-old spiritual and cultural foundation connecting the peoples of India and Mongolia,” it stated.

Earlier on Thursday, Purevsuren conferred Mongolia’s highest civilian award, the Order of North Star, on Lokesh Chandra, president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and Mansura Haider, former academic adviser of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).

Describing India as the “spiritual neighbour” of Mongolia, Purevsuren, speaking on the occasion, said: “President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, bestowed the Order of North Star on these two eminent scholars and I am honoured to hand over these awards to them during my official visit to India.”

India and Mongolia are marking 60 years of diplomatic relations this year with a series of events.



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