Defence cooperation between India and Mongolia has been growing steadily over the years
India and Mongolia are keen to explore new avenues of bilateral collaboration, including potential defence industry partnerships. The subject was discussed at the12th Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting between the Defence Ministries of India and Mongolia held in Ulaanbaatar on May 16-17, 2024. 

The meeting was co-chaired by Shri Amitabh Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence, India, and Brigadier General Gankhuyag Davagdorj, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mongolia. It was also attended by India’s Ambassador to Mongolia, Atul Malhari Gotsurve.

The JWG meeting served as a platform for both nations to review and enhance their ongoing defence cooperation. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the current state of defence ties and identified several new avenues for further collaboration. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, including joint training programs, capacity building, and the potential for defence industry partnerships.

Prasad emphasized the capabilities and potential of the Indian defence industry, expressing optimism about a fruitful partnership with the Mongolian Armed Forces. Brigadier General Gankhuyag Davagdorj echoed this sentiment, expressing confidence in the Indian defence industry's capacity and capabilities. Both sides also exchanged views on the current geopolitical situation, underscoring the importance of their strategic partnership.

In addition to the JWG discussions, the Indian delegation, including the Joint Secretary and the Indian Ambassador, called on Deputy Defence Minister of Mongolia, B Bayarmagnai. During this meeting, they discussed various bilateral cooperation issues, further strengthening the defence ties between the two nations. The delegation also visited a training establishment in Ulaanbaatar to review ongoing engagements and explore additional opportunities for collaboration.

Robust Bilateral Partnership 

India and Mongolia share deep-rooted historical, cultural, and civilizational ties, often referring to each other as 'Spiritual Neighbours.' These ties have evolved into a robust partnership in modern times, with shared values of democracy, freedom, and market economy bringing the two countries closer.

The defence cooperation between India and Mongolia has been growing steadily over the years. India's support for Mongolia's membership in the United Nations in 1961 and the Non-Aligned Movement in 1991 laid the foundation for this strong relationship. 

The visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mongolia in May 2015 marked a significant milestone, elevating the relationship to a "strategic partnership." This visit, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, included the signing of a 22-point Joint Statement and the announcement of a USD 1 billion line of credit for infrastructure development in Mongolia.

High-level exchanges have continued to sustain and enhance this momentum. Notable visits include those by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in September 2022, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in July 2023. These visits have facilitated discussions on various aspects of bilateral cooperation and have led to significant initiatives, such as the construction of Mongolia's first oil refinery and the establishment of a Cyber Security Training Centre in Ulaanbaatar.

The historical ties between India and Mongolia date back to December 24, 1955, when diplomatic relations were officially established. Over the decades, the relationship has been marked by several key developments. In 1971, India opened its resident mission in Ulaanbaatar, further solidifying its commitment to the partnership. Mongolia has consistently appreciated India's support in various international forums, including the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.

The opening of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre of Excellence in Information & Communication Technology in Ulaanbaatar in August 2021, despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stands as a testament to the enduring partnership.

The defence cooperation between India and Mongolia is a vital component of their strategic partnership, contributing to regional stability and security. The 12th JWG meeting in Ulaanbaatar has not only reinforced the existing ties but also paved the way for future collaboration, reflecting the shared commitment to mutual growth and security. As both nations look forward to further deepening their defence cooperation, the historical and cultural bonds that unite them continue to provide a strong foundation for their enduring partnership.