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Narendra Modi invites Mongolia’s new president Khaltmaa Battulga: India just sent a message to China

After all, when you invite someone who fought and won the presidential election in Mongolia on a populist anti-Chican platform, and that too at a time when a warming pace between New Delhi and Beijing continues along the border in the sector Of Sikkim, heads are forced to turn.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and the President of Mongolia. Prime Minister ReutersPrime, Narendra Modi (left) and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga. Reuters
Modi himself had visited Ulaanbaatar – the capital of Mongolia – in 2015.

India had, at that time, extended a $ 1 billion line of credit to Mongolia. After the invitation to Modi, then-President Pranab Mukherjee also sent a message to Battulga, saying that India and Mongolia believe in democracy, according to economic times.

This cordiality between India and Mongolia has now found hope for better ties with Battluga’s victory.

To understand Battluga’s anti-China views that have really helped to win the presidential election, it is important to keep in mind that China buys 80% of Mongolia’s exports, AFP reported.

Mongolia’s economy has gradually increased one percent last year, representing a unique contrast to 17 percent in 2011. It has been hit by a 50 percent drop in copper, its main export product in recent Five years, while slowing growth in its largest customer, China blocked the economy.

Given the slow growth, anti-China sentiment has increased in Mongolia and people want to reduce China’s dependence on China, which has been defended by Battluga, according to the report in economic times.

In fact, Battluga inherit an International Monetary Fund-led rescue of 5.5 billion dollars to stabilize its economy and reduce its dependence on China. One incident that has also aggravated the links between China and Mongolia was when the Mongolian Buddhist majority invited the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit the country in November 2016.

An angry China has closed a border with important Mongolia after the Dalai Lama’s visit, prompting many truck drivers from Mongolia, who were stranded on the border, according to News18. Finally, Mongolia has yielded to pressure from China and promised not to re-invite the Dalai Lama again.

China considers the Dalai Lama as a separatist who seeks to divide Tibet from China and strongly opposes any country to receive the monk, who has relied on India since fleeing Tibet during an abortive uprising against the Chinese government in 1959.

Now that Battluga came to power in Mongolia, India has seen an opportunity.
Tal J Mohan Malik, a professor at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, described it very well when he told the Times of India:

“President Battulga Victory provides an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations that are now part of the broader spectrum of geopolitical rivalry between China and India for the support of small and medium-sized powers.”

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