India, Mongolia ink uranium supply pact, four other agreements

     India and Mongolia on Monday signed five bilateral agreements, including one on uranium supply after talks between visiting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. India also announced a soft loan of 25 million dollars to the Central Asian country. The memorandum of agreement on "development of cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy" was signed by senior officials in the department of atomic energy of the two countries. Mongolia becomes the fifth country after the US, France, Russia and Kazakhstan to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India. Other agreements related to stabilisation loan assistance, health and medical science, cooperation in statistical matters and a cultural exchange programme for 2009-2012. Earlier, Dr. Singh welcomed President Elbegdorj to India. In an opening statement, he said that Indo-Mongolian relations have strong historical and spiritual roots. "They are characterized by warmth and deep friendship. The 1994 Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation provides the guiding principles for developing our relations," he said. He said that he had extremely productive discussions with President Elbegdorj during which both reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. Dr. Singh revealed that after Monday's discussions, bilateral ties have been raised to the level of a "Comprehensive Partnership" and added that a joint declaration would be issued that would chart out the future course of relations. "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. We see great potential for deeper cooperation in the areas of mining and agriculture. We have agreed to increase our trade, investment and economic exchanges, building upon the Bilateral Investment Protection and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements that are already in place," Dr. Singh said. "We also attach importance to our expanding defence exchanges and cooperation with Mongolia, including regular joint exercises between our armies. We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in this area. We have agreed to continue to work together closely on regional and international issues, including combating terrorism and reform of the United Nations Security Council, to advance our shared interests," he added. The Prime Minister said that he had accepted the president's invitation to visit Mongolia.

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