India befriends new anti-China Mongolian prez

India befriends new anti-China Mongolian prez

India has acted fast to reach out to new President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga, who has been arguing against his nation’s dependence on its giant neighbour China.

A few days after Battulga was elected as the president of Mongolia, riding on a campaign built on the simmering resentment among the Mongolians against China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited him for a visit to India.

President Pranab Mukherjee, too, sent a message, congratulating Battulga and stressing that India and Mongolia shared their belief in democracy.

India’s quick move to warm up to the president of Mongolia assumes significance in the wake of the face-off between the Indian Army and Chinese People’s Liberation Army in western Bhutan. Battulga indicated that his government would seek to end Mongolia’s dependence on China and strengthen foreign relations with the United States and other countries.

China imposed economic sanctions on Mongolia, after it hosted the Dalai Lama, the icon of Tibetans’ struggle to end China’s rule over them, in November 2016.

The then Mongolian government succumbed to pressure from Beijing and promised not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country anymore.

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