India on Monday signed a civil nuclear pact with uranium-rich Mongolia that will help it source uranium for its power plants.
According to a joint declaration signed by the two countries,participation of Indian companies through joint ventures and investments in the mining sector in Mongolia is on the cards. A delegation from India has been invited to Mongolia to discuss the prospects for such a cooperation, the declaration said.
Mongolia is the sixth country with which India signed the civil nuclear pact after the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group lifted a 34-year-old ban that had prevented it from trade in the field with the international community. India has earlier signed such agreements with US,France,Russia,Kazakhstan and Namibia.
The agreement a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of peaceful use of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy was signed between officials of Department of Atomic energy from both sides in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj at Hyderabad House.
Four other agreements that were signed between the two countries dealt with loan assistance,health and medical science,cultural exchange programme and cooperation statistical matters.
We have decided to update our bilateral ties to the level of a Comprehensive Partnership, Singh said.
India has also agreed to provide Mongolia a soft loan of $ 25 million to help it stabilise its economy in the wake of the financial crisis. In the area of human resource development and capacity building,India will double the number of annual slots for Mongolia under its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme from 60 to 120.
I have assured the President of our readiness to assist Mongolia in the field of education,particularly in the teaching of English language,and information technology. We will assist Mongolia in the establishment of an Information Technology Centre, the PM said. While describing the conversations with the Mongolian President as extremely productive,the PM said relations with Mongolia are an important pillar of our policy in the Asia-Pacific region.
The declaration also said that development of defence exchanges and cooperation on the basis of the Agreement on Cooperation in Defence Matters signed in 2001 will continue. The fifth joint military exercise will be held in Mongolia later this month. The third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation will be held in Ulaanbaatar at a mutually convenient time in 2010, it said.