Cambodia-India Relations

Special Report

Cambodia-India Relations

Cambodia is grateful that in response to its request, India sent two Chief Electoral officers to witness the legislative election in July 2018 and very much appreciated the congratulatory message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi kindly sent to Samdech Techo Prime Minister HUN SEN on the Ruling Party’s (CPP) victory in this election.

Cambodia’s historical contact with India can be traced back to as early as the 1st century AD, which has been broadly embedded in Cambodia’s cultural, social and political structures. Politically, Cambodia and India established diplomatic ties in May 1952, even prior to Cambodia gaining full independence in November 1953. However, diplomatic ties were suspended during the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975 and reestablished in 1981.

In the 1950s, India associated with the International Control Commission (ICC) on Indo-China. India’s contribution as Co-Chairman of this commission came in for widespread appreciation in Cambodia.

The bilateral relations have been reinforced by several high-level visits. In 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Cambodia and King Norodom Sihanouk visited India in 1957. Subsequently, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Cambodia in April and November 2002.President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil visited Cambodia in 2010. Other high-level visits to Cambodia included Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2012, Vice President Hamid Ansari in 2015. In 2018, there had been three high-level visits from India. Hon’ble Shri. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce visited Cambodia in May, Hon’ble Minister of Defence Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in June and Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj in August 2018.

From Cambodian side, Samdech Techo Prime Minister HUN SEN paid several visits to India. The last visit took place in January 2018 when he paid a state visit to India and also participated in the ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit and as Guest of Honour at the Republic Day Parade 2018 along with other ASEAN Leaders.

Cambodia is grateful that in response to its request, India sent two Chief Electoral officers to witness the legislative election in July 2018 and very much appreciated the congratulatory message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi kindly sent to Samdech Techo Prime Minister HUN SEN on the Ruling Party’s (CPP) victory in this election.

When Cambodia was its at most difficult time in the 1980’s, India as the largest democratic country in the world recognised the new government and reopened its Embassy in Phnom Penh in 1981 and extended valuable support and assistance to Cambodia by responding to an appeal by the Cambodian Government to send a team of experts from Archeological Survey of India in 1986 for the restoration of the famous Angkor Wat Temple, now a World Heritage site.

In the context of India “Act East” policy, Cambodia welcomes the promotion of bilateral Cooperation and strengthening of ASEAN–India ties. Cambodia and India have signed various Agreements and MoUs in the fields of bilateral cooperation, trade, cultural exchanges, capacity building, concessional loans for development projects and restoration and conservation of ancient temples in Cambodia.

The excellent work carried out by Indian experts is still appreciated by Cambodia. At present, the restoration of another temple complex Ta Promh has been a major ongoing project. India as co-chair of National Authority of Preah Vihear also committed to helping the partial restoration of this ancient temple.

For economic and social growth, India continues to assist Cambodia in diverse fields. Lines of Credit have been extended for water resource development, transmission line and supply of water pumps.

Under the Mekong–Ganga Cooperation (MGC) initiative, the Asian Traditional Textile Museum in Siem Reap was completed in 2011 with an Indian Director. The Museum has exhibited on textiles from the Mekong-Ganga region along with interactive facilities and also has a training centre. Children activities and various workshops are also conducted at the centre.

Beginning from 2015-2016, under the same initiative, India also provided assistance to Cambodia with small socio-economic projects known as Quick Impact Project (QIP) in the fields of agriculture, health, women empowerment, capacity building, sanitation, environment and information technology. Since 2018 the number of projects has been increasing from 5 to 10 every year.

In addition to the existing schemes of training under ITEC programme and ICCR scholarships for Cambodian students, India also offered assistance in setting up a Centre of Excellence in IT and IT-enabled service in Cambodia.

Cambodia is highly supportive of India initiated MGC Business Forum and digital connectivity through the establishment of “Digital Villages” in Mekong countries. For Cambodia, the feasibility Report on “Digital Village Pilot” project in Takeo Province was carried out by Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (A Government of India Enterprise). An Agreement between the Minister of Posts and Telecommunication of Cambodia and Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Manika Jain was signed on August 2018 to implement the project.

In Defense cooperation, India provided training and 15 sniffer dogs to assist in demining. Cambodia is firmly confident that Cambodia-India Defense cooperation, including in the UN Peace Keeping will be further enhanced by the Defense Cooperation Plan agreed during Indian Defense Minister’s visit to Cambodia in June 2018.

In Trade, Investment and Tourism Exchange and Cooperation, it is encouraging to see a gradual increase in bilateral trade and investment interest. However, there is still so much room for expansion. Cambodia does hope that both sides can agree on the proposed Cambodia–India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

To promote trade and business relations, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce, Trade and Civil Aviation, Shri Suresh Prabhu visited Cambodia in May 2018 to participate in CLMV-India Business conclave in Phnom Penh and held a bilateral meeting with Minister of Commerce H.E. Sorasak Pan on trade improvement and connectivity. India and Cambodia jointly organized some events in Cambodia such as 5thCLMV-India Business Conclave and Incredible India Road Show in May 2018. Besides, Cambodian government officials and the business delegation were invited to participate in Advantage Assam-India Expressway to ASEAN in February 2018, FICCI High Education Summit, Saurashtra Vyapar Udyog Mahamandal (SVUM) in July 2018 and other mega-events and expo’s in India. Cambodian Minister of Commerce will lead a delegation to participate in the 4th ASEAN-India Expo and Summit in New Delhi, during 21-23rd February 2018.

References:

• Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Cambodia

• Ministry of External Affairs, India

• Royal Embassy of Cambodia, New Delhi, India

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