Indian ambassador Devyani Khobragade has confirmed that direct flights between her country and Cambodia will commence shortly and stated that both nations are keen to enhance trade and tourism ties.

During an October 5 meeting with Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, Khobragade highlighted the longstanding and robust diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries.

She said that the Indian government is keen to intensify cooperation in any of the sectors prioritised by Cambodia. Key among these is augmenting commercial mechanisms and investments using trade preferences under a trade agreement that is currently in final negotiations, as per a ministry press release.

“To foster closer ties between our peoples and enhance digital connectivity, the Indian government is planning to introduce direct flights between India and Cambodia soon,” she said.

Pornmoniroth expressed his appreciation for the continuous support of the Indian government, particularly in bilateral trade, which benefits both nations. He expressed his endorsement for direct aviation links, noting their potential to strengthen people-to-people and tourism links between the two countries.

Cambodian ambassador to India Koy Kuong told the Indian news agency ANI in late August that the diplomatic relations between the countries have scaled “remarkable heights in the present era”, marking 70 years of friendship.

Kuong highlighted Cambodia’s fruitful cooperation with the India, both regionally, as a dialogue partner of ASEAN, and internationally, with mutual support consistently on the agenda.

Currently, India operates direct flights to nine of the ten ASEAN countries, with Cambodia being the exception. Kuong hinted at the potential for direct flights from New Delhi to Cambodia by early 2024, simplifying travel for both tourists and investors.

Recent statistics from the Ministry of Tourism indicate a surge in Indian visitors, recording 16,388 arrivals in the first quarter of this year, a significant increase from 1,478 during the same period last year.

Cambodian exports to India reached $91.5 million in the initial four months of 2023, marking a 64.2 per cent year-on-year increase from $55.746 million, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). During this timeframe, India stood as Cambodia’s 18th largest trading partner.