India & Mongolia discuss development partnership, education, IT, connectivity, security and defence
In a move that underscores the expanding educational and technological partnership between India and Mongolia, officials from both countries have signed a contract to initiate the construction of the India-Mongolia Friendship Secondary School. The deal was formalized in Ulaanbaatar during the official visit of Secretary (East) in India's Ministry of External Affairs Saurabh Kumar on Tuesday (September 12, 2023).

While Kumar had productive discussions with Mongolia's Minister for Education and Science L Enkh-Amgalan with the focus spanning multiple areas of mutual interest — including information technology, skill development, and capacity building — the conversation uniquely underscored the role of education as a pillar of the bilateral relationship.

The construction of the India-Mongolia Friendship Secondary School marks a novel approach to international cooperation. Unlike more conventional realms of diplomatic exchange such as defense and trade, this educational initiative symbolizes a mutual recognition of the importance of knowledge and skill development for the future. In the rapidly evolving global landscape, both nations reflected their commitment to investing in the next generation and focused on achieving sustainable growth and long-term relationship-building.

The concept behind this secondary school goes well beyond providing quality education; it envisions creating a microcosm of India-Mongolia friendship where young minds from both countries can interact, share ideas, and build a collective vision for the future. Amid increasing globalization, the institution aims to serve as a platform for cultural exchange to fortify the centuries-old ties between the two nations.

Enkh-Amgalan, in a statement following the meeting, highlighted the broader aspirations of this initiative: "This is not just a school, but a meeting ground for the future leaders of Mongolia and India. We aim to integrate state-of-the-art IT and skill development programs into the curriculum, which can set a precedent for educational collaboration between countries."

Additionally, the secondary school plans to incorporate cutting-edge information technology and skill development courses into its curriculum. By doing so, both nations intend to actively empower students with practical skills that are immediately applicable in the 21st-century workforce.

One of the main mutual goals of the nations was to converge technological adeptness as a key facet of modern education. Motivated by this, there was a collective agreement to include specific IT and skill-building components. These plans are consistent with ongoing dialogues between India and Mongolia focused on enhancing IT capabilities and skill development programs.

"The India-Mongolia Friendship Secondary School is a beacon of our deep-rooted friendship and shared aspirations. It embodies our collective aim to nurture talent and foster a community of learners who are equipped to meet the challenges of a dynamic and ever-changing world," a news report quoted Kumar as stating.

Further accentuating the depth of the bilateral ties, Kumar also had an insightful meeting with State Secretary in the Mongolian Foreign Ministry N Ankhbayar. The two officials deliberated on various bilateral projects and sought avenues to amplify the existing India-Mongolia Strategic Partnership.

According to a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) by MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, "Secy (East) @AmbSaurabhKumar met State Secretary @MongolDiplomacy, N. Ankhbayar in Ulaanbaatar today. They reviewed bilateral relations, took stock of Indian projects, and exchanged views to further strengthen India-Mongolia Strategic Partnership".

"Discussions covered cooperation in areas including development partnership, education, IT, hydrocarbons, renewable energy, security and defence, connectivity, minerals, and capacity building," Bagchi added.

The longstanding bond between India and Mongolia stretches over 2600 years, primarily through the conduit of Buddhism. With the evolution of Mongolia into a modern nation-state in the 20th century, the two nations have endeavored to strengthen their ties, grounded in a shared historical and cultural lineage.

On August 7, 2023, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met former Mongolian President Enkhbayar Nambar. Their dialogue centered on intensifying bilateral ties and fostering a deeper cooperation between the two nations. 

The ongoing discussions and collaborative ventures, including the initiation of the India-Mongolia Friendship Secondary School, manifest the future goal of nurturing and developing their partnership beyond a single sector.