Cultural Exchange Programme between India and Mongolia

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    In News

    Recently, the Minister of State for Culture & Tourism discussed various issues under the Cultural Exchange Programme with his Mongolian counterpart. 

    Major Highlights 

    • They discussed various issues under the Cultural Exchange Program between the two countries, and other areas of common interest.
    • The Cultural Exchange Program between India and Mongolia stands renewed until 2023. It was also emphasized that India’s historical connection and convergence in Buddhism with Mongolia forms the basis of the deep and spiritual friendship.
    • India’s commitment to the digitization of Buddhist manuscripts in Gandan monastery and India would consider Mongolia’s request for assistance in setting up a museum-cum-library.  
    • The Ministry of Culture is likely to complete the reprinting of about 100 sets of sacred Mongolian Kanjur (108 volumes each) by next year for distribution in the main centres of Buddhism in Mongolia. 

    India -Mongolia Bilateral Relations 

    • Historical 
      • India and Mongolia have interacted through Buddhism throughout history. Some Indian & Mongolian historians have conjectured about the migration of some tribes from the Kangra kingdom to Mongolian territory 10000 years ago.
      • The steps were taken by the Govt of India to facilitate the visa and travel of Buddhist monks from Mongolia within India.
    • International Cooperation
      •  Mongolia has been traditionally supporting India in the United Nations and various other international forums. It has supported us for the nonpermanent seat of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2011-2012. India and Mongolia declared support to each other for UNSC non-permanent seats respectively for terms 2021-22 and 2023-24. 
    • Mongolia voted in favour of India’s proposal to put Yoga’s inscription into the list of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage
      • India also voted for registering Mongolian legacy on “Mongolian Traditional Custom to Worship Mountain and Ovoo” in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. 
    • In 2017, Mongolia supported Indian candidates to (i) International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) (ii) Executive Board of UNESCO, (iii) Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and (iv) International Court of Justice. 
    • India and Mongolia have ‘India-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation (IMJCC)’ chaired at the Ministerial level. 
    • Defence Cooperation
      •  There is an India-Mongolia Joint Working Group for Defence cooperation which meets annually.
    • Joint India-Mongolia exercise ‘Nomadic Elephant’ is held annually.
    • Indian Armed Forces Observers regularly participate in the Annual multilateral peacekeeping exercise ‘Khan Quest‘ in Mongolia
    • India also offers training in the English language, IT to Mongolian Defence personnel every year under the ITEC programme
    • Energy Cooperation
      • A Working Group for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy has been set up between the respective agencies of the two countries i.e. the Department of Atomic Energy and the Nuclear Energy Agency of Mongolia. 
      • An agreement for cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources was signed in September 1996.
    • Commercial and Economic Relations
      • In 1996, an Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between India and Mongolia was signed. 
        • The Agreement provides for Most-Favored-Nation (MFN)status to each other in respect of customs, duties and all other taxes on imports and exports. 
    • In 2001 both sides signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement which is currently under review.
    •  Bilateral trade is modest in value & volumes. Main items of exports to Mongolia include medicines, mining machinery and auto parts, etc. Imports from Mongolia include raw cashmere wool
    • In 2018 both the countries organized a commercial event ‘Trade and Investment Opportunities in India’ to promote Indian Pharmaceutical, Agriculture, Dairy, Spice, Tea, Coffee, Tourism and Educational sector in Mongolia. 
    • Humanitarian assistance worth US$ 20,000 in the form of beds, bedrolls, toys, etc for the children of herders in Sukhbaatar Aimag (severely affected by harsh winter ‘Zud’) was provided. 
      • In the past years also, GoI provided considerable assistance on various occasions. 
    • Cultural Cooperation
      • The India-Mongolian Agreement on Cultural Cooperation was signed in 1961.
        • The Agreement envisages co-operation in the fields of education by way of scholarships, exchange of experts, participation in conferences Etc.
      • A dance troupe from Mongolia performed in various cities in India in 2018 and a traditional Indian Dance Troupe performed in 3 cities in Mongolia including the capital city Ulaanbaatar in March 2018. 
    • Indian Diaspora
      • The Indian community in Mongolia is small and most Indians are either employed in the organized sector or are self-employed such as operating Indian restaurants which are popular with the Mongols and foreigners in Mongolia. 

    Source: PIB