Prime Minister Hun Sen had a telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss their diplomatic relationship and joint efforts in fighting Covid-19, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“Modi praised Hun Sen and the Cambodian government for the effective control of the Covid-19 outbreak, which served as a model for the world,” the press release said.
Hun Sen returned praise to India, adding that he respected the country’s efforts in controlling the pandemic while expressing condolences over the lives lost to the contagious disease in India.
The two leaders thanked each other for their respective cooperation in repatriating their citizens during the pandemic. A chartered flight will bring home 60 Cambodians, some of whom are students, from India on Friday.
Around 280 Indian nationals will return to their country this week. Some left Phnom Penh on Thursday morning, while others will depart on June 19, the statement said.
Both the leaders said in order to ensure a socio-economic recovery post-Covid-19, international cooperation will be paramount and they vowed to strengthen their bilateral ties.
Modi said India considers Cambodia an important part of the Act East Policy, which aims to strengthen cultural, economic and strategic ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
In response, Hun Sen spoke highly of India’s international role and humanitarian gestures. He also praised India for producing and supplying medicine to around 130 countries in the last two months.
The two leaders agreed to commit further to strengthening their regional cooperation such as the ASEAN-India and Mekong-India frameworks.
“On cultural and archaeological cooperation, Modi expressed appreciation for the confidence placed in India’s co-chairmanship of the International Coordinating Committee for the Restoration and Development of the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia,” the press release read.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a similar statement which spoke of the country’s commitment to strengthen its relationship with Cambodia, an important member of ASEAN with shared cultural ties.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India recorded 276,583 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 7,745 deaths from January 30 to June 11.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the number of Covid-19 cases remained at 126 with no deaths, with only one Covid-19 patient still recovering in hospital.
Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said Cambodia’s success in controlling the spread of coronavirus was reflected in Modi’s appreciation.
He said the phone conversation between the two leaders represented good faith in improving cooperation between the countries.
“India is the only democratic country in the world that maintained a stable relationship with Cambodia since the collapse of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. If we look at the relationship between the two countries, there has never been any dispute,” he said.