The whole world was watching when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited United States of America, China, Brazil, Japan and the other nations, but his visit to Mongolia seems to have hogged the headlines despite it being a historic milestone in both nations’ archives. PM’s visit to Japan was covered over 03 days by the media and his drums were loudly heard all around the world, the encore however forgot to amplify his visit to Mongolia. The reason maybe that it is not important because a big question remains left unanswered to the populace is – Why Mongolia?
The answer to some goes back to 14th September 2009 when the 02 nations signed a nuclear deal for Uranium supplies from Mongolia to India. There have been no supplies from Mongolia till date, so the reason for the visit was not to hasten the internal procedures or fasten the process but more strategic in nature.
Mongolia is the second largest landlocked country in the world after Kazakhstan, and despite its size is dwarfed and sandwiched between the 02 giants- Russia and China. China has always had a major influence upon Mongolia’s affairs due to its proximity to the nation and because Mongolia has rich resources of Copper, Uranium, Iron and Coal. China has been the largest trade partner to Mongolia since 1999 owing to 70 % of Mongolia’s exports and is also the largest foreign investor.
This over dependence and gradually increasing influence of China has led to Mongolian politicians feeling a sense of discomfort. “Sino-phobia” is what they call it because even after gaining independence from China in 1921, they still have not felt liberated from China’s dominance. China’s expansionist approach over the Indian Ocean as well as South China Sea have made most nations weary of their intentions.
China and India are regarded as the 02 nations of the century, China having a stronger economy then India, whereas India is a growth, oriented economy with a democratic form of government. Understandably, India is not interested to take on China in a direct confrontation, therefore the policy revolving around the shifting of interests of the nations under Chinese influence towards India is of strategic importance. PM’s visit to Mongolia was to collect the pearls from the string and deal with China in a strategic way, the steps in that direction have been the visits to Vietnam, Philippines and Myanmar in the last 01 year by him.
PM’s visit to Mongolia is one for mutual benefit as it is win-win situation for both nations. This visit has enabled the “spiritual neighbors” to open talks to each other based heavily on cultural ties and the like-mindedness of the nations. It also specially meets the need that Mongolia, which has to open up to the world and step away from just the Sino-Soviet ties, starting from the “third neighbor” India. India has no ulterior motives but only foreign agendas to maintain a peaceful neighborhood in all of Central Asia, starting with Mongolia.
The meeting does not end at another foreign trip that our PM made but sets an example to the world that bonds of mind and heart can overcome barriers around the world. The masterstroke of diplomacy is “Made in India” and the lion is roaring to go.