Narendra Modi reaches Mongolia in first-ever visit by an Indian PM

Ulan Bator: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday landed here in the Mongolian capital, in the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister.

Modi arrived here from Shanghai after concluding a three-day visit to China that also took him to Beijing and Xi'an.

Mongolia, a landlocked country between China and Russia, has a population of over 2.9 million. More than half of the population follow Buddhism, and about three percent follow Islam and 2.2 percent Christianity, while 2.9 percent are Shamanist.

With a land area slightly smaller than Alaska, it has a density of around 1.7 people per square km - among the lowest population densities among independent countries.

Mongolia is nicknamed the "Land of Blue Skies", as it has around 250 sunny days.

India has close ties with Mongolia from centuries.

While Buddhism was spread to Mongolia by Ashoka and his disciples, Mughal emperor Babur was a descendent of Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol empire.

Modi will spend Sunday in Mongolia.

Modi would start his day by presenting a sapling of the Bodhi tree to the chief abbot of the Gandan Monastery in Ulan Bator.

He will meet Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg for talks after which many agreements are to be inked.

He will address the Mongolian parliament, which will be opened on a holiday, in a special gesture.

Modi will also meet the speaker of the Mongolian parliament.

He will meet President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and attend a banquet lunch in his honour.

Modi will later lay the foundation stone for an IT centre and attend a mini Naadam festival - a national sporting festival and watch wrestling, archery and horse racing events in an open arena.

Modi will also address a community reception and banquet in Ulan Bator.

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