Your Excellency President of Mongolia,
Your Excellency Chairman of Great Hural of Mongolia,
Your Excellency Prime Minister of Mongolia,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Honourable Members of Diplomatic Corp,
I am delighted to visit Mongolia, a country of great people. Your country reminds us how beautiful this world is. It is truly a great honour to speak to the Great Hural. It is a special privilege to do so in the 25th year of democracy in Mongolia. You are the new bright light of democracy in our world.
I am deeply grateful for your generosity in hosting me on a Sunday. I am humbled by the warmth of the welcome and your wonderful hospitality. ;Everything that I see and experience here speaks clearly of unlimited goodwill for India.
I bring the greetings of your 1.25 billion spiritual neighbours. There is no higher form of a relationship; no bonds more sacred than this. We in India are honoured that you think of us this way.
As in the life of a human being, in the life of a nation, too, few things are as precious as the gift of friendship. So, I speak for my entire nation to say that we deeply cherish the friendship of the Mongol people.
India and Mongolia are at an important milestone. We are celebrating sixty years of diplomatic relations. But, our ties are timeless in spirit.
Around two thousand years ago, monks from India crossed difficult terrain and long distance to spread the message of Lord Buddha in this enchanting land. Many went from here to the hot tropics of India in search of spiritual knowledge.
Centuries ago, when our horizons and our mobility were limited, the great Mongols united Asia and Europe. Their stories of courage, daring and adventure continue to captivate human imagination around the world. Their impact on human history has been profound.
In the winding course of history, our own cultures, literature and art became interconnected. And, it continues to shine in the richness of India's diversity and culture.
Today Indians and Mongolians are telling the world that the bonds of hearts and minds have the strength to overcome the barriers of distance. That bond thrives through the monks from Mongolia who come to India each year for spiritual learning; and, the hundreds of others who go there for education and training.
It lives through the work of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche India's Ambassador here from 1990 to 2000. The Pethub Monastery that he established here will be an enduring symbol of our links.
In the popularity of the yoga in Mongolia, we see the unity of our spirit.
Five decades ago, we stood firmly with you, as you sought membership of the United Nations as a proud and sovereign nation. In turn, time and again, you have stood in solidarity with us, in the United Nations and elsewhere.
While the human bonds have been strong, our economic ties have been modest. But, I have no doubt that our relations will progress along every avenue of the new age. It will draw strength from India's economic growth.
A year ago, a nation of 1.25 billion people voted for change and progress in the largest democratic election in human history. We have worked with speed, resolve and ambition to fulfill our pledge.
In less than a year, our growth has rebounded to 7.5%.India has emerged as one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. And, we have the potential to grow even faster.
At a time when the global economy remains weak, the world speaks in one voice that India is the bright spot of hope to become the new locomotive for global economic momentum.
We are conscious that our challenges are vast across India's immense social and economic diversity. But, we have faith in our sound policies and good governance.
We draw confidence from the unity of our nation and the common purpose of our people. Even more, we get our energy from the aspirations of a young India, with 800 million youth under the age of 35 years. They are eager to pursue their dreams and confident in their ability to do so.
So, as we transform the lives of our people, we also create opportunities for the world. And, we increase our ability to help our friends. This is the urge of the land of Buddha and Gandhi. This is the instinct born from our ancient belief in the world as one family.
As the Indian economy adds strength to our region and the world, it will also benefit Mongolia.
Mongolia's economic growth is also impressive. So, our bilateral ties will also grow, despite the distance and demands of geography.
Mongolia’s rich mineral resources can fuel our partnership. And, I hope that location will not be a constraint on Mongolia’s right to choose its partners.
We can seize the economic opportunities of the digital world and work together to make it more secure against growing cyber threats. We can use India’s expertise in dairy to launch a white revolution on these vast steppes. We can work together to add value to Mongolia's pashmina resources right here. We can create partnerships for affordable modern healthcare in Mongolia. We can use our heritage of traditional medicines to improve holistic treatment in our countries and abroad. As Indians travel abroad more, Mongolia has the opportunity, with its natural and spiritual wealth, to become a major destination for them.
More than just trade and investment, our development partnership is a reflection of our shared ideals and vision. I believe that the greatest form of this partnership is investment in the development of human resources and institutions.
This gives a nation its own capacity to shoulder the responsibility for its progress. It enhances its independence of choice. And, it makes progress more sustainable.
We remain deeply committed to this vision.
Today, I will lay the foundation stone for the expansion and upgrading of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology.
Under India's training programme, Mongolia is one of our largest partners. We will increase the ITEC training slots for Mongolia from 150 to 200. We will also establish an India-Mongolia Joint School.
Later today, I will hand over the Bhabhatron equipment that can help treat cancer in Mongolia. This will be the first demonstration of our cooperation in the civil nuclear sector.
Finally, today I conveyed to Prime Minister our decision to provide one billion U.S. dollars Line of Credit to develop institutions, infrastructure and human resources in Mongolia.
Our security cooperation is growing. We can learn a great deal from each other. No one can doubt the well-known skills of Mongols! We are proud to conduct defence exercises together. And, I am pleased that we have signed agreements today to cooperate more closely on border security and cyber security.
We have also agreed that India will help establish a cyber security centre in Mongolia’s defence and security establishment. But, the real strength of our relationship lies in the goodwill between our people and in the faith that unites us across the distances. It is a power that can do more than just draw our two countries closer. It can help advance peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific Region.
There was a time when the messengers of Lord Buddha linked Asia with his message of love and compassion. The shifting sands of time have not buried their footprints, because the value of their message never diminishes.
Wherever I have travelled in Asia - from the edge of Pacific to the centre of the Indian Ocean; from the sea shores of Southeast Asia to the lofty heights of the Himalaya; from the thick forests of the tropics to the expanse of these steppes - I see thriving monuments and temples dedicated to Lord Buddha.
The eight-fold path of Lord Buddha prescribes not just the path to happiness of individuals, but also a guide to the well being of societies and nations. It is a message of kindness, love and compassion for all. It is a lesson of deepest respect for human beings and human rights; for faith in peace and non-violence. This is a path that tells us to reach out to the weakest and the poorest in our societies. It is a wisdom that sees the inter-dependence of all things in the universe and the virtue of simplicity. Therefore, it is a path to a more a sustainable planet.
It holds lessons for the world that is threatened by the excesses of consumption and disharmony between man and nature. As in the prosperous West, Asia of rising incomes and aspirations must remember and follow this message. Above all, it is a guide for a relationship of peace, equality, respect and cooperation between nations, small and large, weak and powerful.
It is a call for each of us, as individuals and as nations, to assume the universal responsibility to mankind and our planet. It inspires us to think of common good of all nations. The teachings of Lord Buddha are reflected in the principles of democracy.
The path of righteousness is based on freedom of mind, liberty of thought, liberty of action and liberty of speech. These are the foundations of democracy. It is defined by recognition of inter-dependence, acceptance of diversity and belief in co- existence.
Its essence is the freedom of human beings, faith in dialogue, rule of law, and resolution of differences through peaceful means. So, if we follow the Right Path of the master, it will also be natural to walk on the path of democratic values.
Here, in Mongolia, we see the union of these two ideals.
I say this to Asia:
Whatever forms of government each nation chooses, however we define ourselves as a State, we can still apply the principles of democracy in our engagement with each other.
Whatever path we have chosen, whatever be the history of our disputes, or the nature of our claims, we are linked by the common spiritual heritage across a vast arc of Asia.
The convergence of Buddhism and democracy provides us a path to build an Asia of peace and cooperation, harmony and equality.
This is a region that has woken up to its destiny. No region in the world has seen so much progress in the last half century as Asia. No age has seen transformation on such scale in one generation as our continent.
This is a region of ancient wisdom and youthful dynamism It is a continent that is expected to lead the world in the 21st century. Yet, this is also a ;region that lives on the uneasy edge of uncertainty, of unsettled questions, of unresolved disputes and unforgotten memories.
Across Asia’s diversity, we also see growing disparity of hope and opportunities. Asia has given much to the world through the ages. It now has the responsibility to shape its future.
So, now more than our own requirements, I am sure we will be able to do the requirements that Asia wants from us and the world thinks about us. And I am sure that with our spiritual background, and our extraordinary quality of the mind, we can serve the world and society.
And I am sure that the path of righteousness is paved with the freedom of mind, liberty and thought. I am sure that whatever we have decided, and in this widening course of history, our own cultures, literature and art become interconnected and it continues to sign in the richness of India’s diversity and culture. Today Indians and Mongolians are telling the world that the bonds of hearts and minds have the strength to overcome the barriers of distances.
This is a token of our reverence for our shared spiritual heritage and respect for our friendship.
As the sapling grows, it will be an emblem of our growing partnership.
In time, it should also become a symbol of humanism in the world and conservation of our planet.
I thank you once again. Thank you.
May happiness be bestowed on all.
When I entered the parliament, I saw its symbol, I found a special connection with this Parliament. The symbol is a lotus. You will be happy to know that my party’s symbol is also lotus. So it is a very special connection with you.
Thank you very much.