Cambodia and India have agreed to enhance naval cooperation following the strengthening of military ties through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in February.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Tea Seiha met with Indian ambassador Devyani Khobragade on October 25 at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh, according to a social media post from the ministry.

During the meeting, Seiha expressed gratitude to the Indian government, military and people for supporting Cambodia in areas such as the economy, trade, culture and defence.

He expressed optimism about the potential expansion of bilateral ties, especially in cooperation concerning cybersecurity.

Khobragade highlighted the longstanding positive relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of culture, science and trade. She noted that both nations are set to inaugurate a direct flight in October, which is expected to boost tourism, trade and other relevant sectors.

She said that India also aims to bolster digital development in the country through technological advancements.

The ministry stated that the two nations have seen significant advancements in defence relations since the signing of the MoU, leading to joint training exercises enabling Cambodian peacekeepers to participate in UN humanitarian missions.

It said the relationship between the two countries has further deepened following state visits to India by King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Manet, leading to strengthened ties, especially in the defence sector.

Khobragade extended an invitation to Seiha for an official visit to India to further fortify military collaboration between the nations.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), emphasised the strategic nature of the growing relationship between Cambodia and India, referencing their historically positive ties.

“In the defence sector, both nations should focus on enhancing military capabilities, sharing technical skills and building military resources within both bilateral and ASEAN frameworks.” he added.

He also noted Cambodia’s inclusive foreign policy, which welcomes collaborations to boost military capabilities, fortify institutional capacity and uphold the tenets of international law.

He further pointed out that India plays a crucial role in cultural and human resource development in the country, and is crucial for security cooperation and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.