Our beloved Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently returned from his successful tour of China, Mongolia and South Korea. Some people are unhappy that Modi has given 1 billion dollars to Mongolia, whereas that money should have been used for the benefit of India. First of all, I want to tell them that Modi hasn’t ‘donated’ 1 billion dollars to Mongolia. Instead, he has given a credit line of 1 billion dollars to Mongolia. I am sure you very well understand the difference between ‘donation’ and ‘loan’. Modi has also clearly said in his press statement in Mongolia that India has approved a credit line of 1 billion dollars to Mongolia. (You can click here to read the full press statement). Credit line means loan, not donation. Simply put, this means that India has sanctioned a loan of 1 billion dollars to Mongolia. Now, Mongolia can borrow upto 1 billion dollars from us as per its needs and it will pay us interest on that money. (You can click here to know more about Credit Line). I hope now your concern that Modi is distributing India’s money to other countries has been addressed. Let’s proceed to see why Mongolia is important for India.
If we see the world map, Mongolia is situated between China and Russia. China and Mongolia have a long-time enmity. One of the reasons for building the famous wall of China was to protect China from the attack of Mongol nomads. The Mongols had occupied China in 1279, then the Chinese defeated them after some time. Such conflicts and wars continued for several centuries. In 1911, the Republic of China was formed and Mongolia declared itself independent. The way China claims Tibet as its own territory, at that time it claimed Mongolia too. However, Mongolia didn’t bow down to Chinese pressure and took Russia’s help to gain independence. China was badly defeated by Russian armies twice and finally in 1924 Mongolia declared its freedom from Chinese rule. After the Second World War, China had to recognize Mongolia under pressure from Russia. In next few years, the two countries also established diplomatic relations, signed treaties to resolve border disputes, expanded the trade relations, but still Mongolia has always been suspicious that China intends to capture Mongolian territories. In short, the relations between China and Mongolia are as tense as the Indo-Pakistan relations.
Since last few years, we have been clearly watching the tactics used by China against India. First it captured Tibet and reached up to our borders, then it also occupied a part of Kashmir. China also claims Sikkim and Arunachal. It is an open secret that China helps Pakistan’s activities against India. In Nepal too, it played an important role in providing all kinds of support to the Maoist-Communist-Naxalist forces to overthrow the monarchy. Apart from it, China has also surrounded India by taking control over some sea-ports in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Almost every one of us will agree that more than Pakistan, China is a bigger threat for India. In such situation, shouldn’t we do something to counter this increasing Chinese threat? It seems that the Modi Government has adopted the policy of tit for tat and that is why, the government is focusing on establishing and strengthening its relations with the countries which surround China. After taking oath as PM, Shri Modi visited Bhutan and Nepal on priority. In last few years, China has tried actively to encroach into these two countries and it also achieved success in Nepal to a great extent. However, now this equation is gradually shifting in India’s favor. I will discuss more on this in another blog post.
Apart from Nepal and Bhutan, the GOI has also tried to strengthen its relations with Japan and South Korea. Both these countries are situated near the eastern and south-eastern border of China. India’s friendly relations with these two countries are definitely a cause of concern for China.
In the same context, Mongolia can also prove to be an important partner for us. But unfortunately, no Indian PM ever visited this strategically important country. Shri Modi didn’t visit Mongolia just as a formality, but rather he spent two days in Mongolia and signed several important agreements. Apart from sanctioning a credit line of 1 billion dollars, these agreements include the commitment to expand ‘strategic partnership’ and to work together in defense sector. We can easily guess that agreement with Mongolia on critical issues like defense and warfare are to warn China that it will have to pay a very heavy price for doing any activity against any of these two countries. An old saying tells us that the ‘enemy of our enemy is our friend’. We can clearly see that Shri Narendra Modi has given a clear and correct warning to China by establishing friendly relations with Mongolia.