Cambodian and Indian diplomats agreed to deepen bilateral ties after holding comprehensive talks aimed at strengthening the two nations’ diverse connections that currently exist in a variety of sectors.
On April 10-11, as part of his three-nation tour to the region, Saurabh Kumar – India’s Eastern Secretary for the Ministry of External Affairs – paid a visit to Phnom Penh and met with Koy Kuong, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Kumar reaffirmed India’s support for Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022 and offered words of appreciation for the role played by Cambodian foreign minister Prak Sokhonn in attempting to resolve the Myanmar crisis as the ASEAN special envoy.
“Both sides had comprehensive discussions on bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including political, economic, commerce, trade, investments, defence and security, development partnership, connectivity, capacity building and cultural cooperation as well as physical and digital connectivity,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a press release on April 11.
India and Cambodia are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year as well as commemorating the India-ASEAN Friendship Year, which marks the 30th anniversary of relations between India and ASEAN.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and the talks were friendly and productive, said the press release, with both sides agreeing to hold another round of discussions at a mutually convenient date.
Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry, said on April 11 that Kumar’s interactions with Kuong during his visit to Cambodia had been “fruitful”.
“They reviewed progress on bilateral issues and exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern,” he tweeted.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said India is a densely populated country with a large consumer market and if India were to become a development partner with Cambodia, one potentially large benefit would be greater access to that market for Cambodia’s exports.
“Having development partnerships with other countries in the world has no real drawbacks and it promotes our economic development. The only question really is what products do we have that we can successfully bring to India’s market,” he told The Post on April 12.
“Following through with practical actions on development cooperation will lead to the growth of both countries economically. But otherwise, it’s just a lot of friendly talk with no real progress made absent those concrete actions,” he added.