India will establish a medical college and hospital in Cambodia as part of a move to strengthen ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the Indian commerce minister has told an Indian press outlet.
Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu was speaking after returning to his country from the fifth edition of the India-Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) Business Conclave in Phnom Penh last week.
He told Indian news agency the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the move was among several projects in the pipeline for CLMV countries amid greater efforts to strengthen India-Asean economic ties.
“From our side, we have decided to do two projects [in CLMV countries]. In Cambodia, we will set up a hospital and medical college,” he told PTI, adding that India also plans to set up a multi-speciality hospital and an education institute in Myanmar, and a pharmacy unit in Vietnam.
He gave no details as to who might invest in the Cambodian project and did not offer a timeline for when it is expected to break ground in the Kingdom. Prabhu said a detailed report of the project is being finalised.
The state-owned Export-Import Bank of India has already prioritised funding for Indian healthcare operators and investors in the education sector to expand into Cambodia, noting that the demand for specialised medical services in the Kingdom was on the rise.
Seang Thai, spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, confirmed on Monday that Cambodian and Indian commerce ministers had met in Phnom Penh to discuss the potential of boosting trade and investment.
Prioritising the healthcare sector was one among a few major business ventures that was floated.
While specific talks on the project have yet to kick-off, Thai said Cambodia welcomed the investment project and will help facilitate India’s projects in the Kingdom.
“India’s healthcare sector is already at an advanced level, so it would be advantageous if they entered Cambodia to invest in it. “We hope the project will soon materialise and help develop human resources in the healthcare sector in our country,” he said.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and India amounted to $126 million in 2017, according to Thai.
He said that Indian products are flowing into Cambodia, especially imports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.