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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets Mongolian counterpart; discusses defence cooperation

ULAANBAATAR (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Mongolian counterpart Saikhanbayar Gursed here on Tuesday and discussed ways to add further momentum to defence cooperation between the two countries.

Defence Minister Singh is on a five-day visit to Mongolia and Japan beginning Monday with an aim to expand India's strategic and defence ties with the two countries in the backdrop of evolving regional security matrix and geo-political turmoil.

Singh's visit to Mongolia from September 5 to 7 is the first-ever tour to the East Asian country by an Indian Defence Minister.

"Productive interaction with Mongolia's Defence Minister, Mr. Saikhanbayar Gursed in Ulaanbaatar today. We had in-depth deliberations on adding further momentum to India-Mongolia defence cooperation," he said in a tweet.

From Mongolia, the Defence Minister will travel to Japan for a two-day visit from September 8 to 9. The '2+2' dialogue is set to take place on September 8. The dialogue is taking place over five months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan summit.

Announcing Singh's visit to Mongolia on Sunday, the Defence Ministry said it will further consolidate the defence cooperation and strategic partnership between the two countries.

It said Singh will hold bilateral talks with Mongolia's Minister of Defence Lt Gen Saikhanbayar and call on President U Khurelsukh and Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) G Zandanshatar.

"The two democracies have a common interest in fostering peace and prosperity in the entire region," the Ministry said in a statement.

It said India and Mongolia share a strategic partnership and defence is a key pillar of this partnership.

The bilateral defence engagements with Mongolia have been expanding over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including joint working group meetings, military-to-military exchanges and capacity building and training programmes.

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