As part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of India-Cambodia diplomatic relations, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and the Indian embassy co-launched a one-month India for Humanity campaign to produce and fit artificial limbs to the victims of landmines.
The campaign – which will see at least 600 artificial limbs fitted by the end of March – was launched on March 3 at a vocational training school for the disabled in Banteay Meanchey province. The event was attended by Indian ambassador Devyani Khobragade, provincial governor Um Reatrey and CMAA vice-president Prum Sopheak Mongkol.
Sopheak Mongkol urged further cooperation with the Indian embassy to help the victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
He thanked the Indian government for extending its help to handicapped persons in Cambodia and lauded the work done by the Indian NGO Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) – the world’s “largest” organisation for the rehabilitation of lower limb handicapped persons.
“We need this collaboration to continue into the future, as the Kingdom has a large number of amputees, most of whom were the victims of mines and explosive remnants of war,” he said.
Ambassador Khobragade emphasised the importance India attaches to its long-standing religious and cultural links with Cambodia.
“I am very proud that we were able to work with BMVSS to set up this historic artificial limb camp,” she said, adding that India is working closely with the Kingdom to help it achieve its mine-free 2025 target.
“As part of UNTAC, the Indian Army’s corps of engineers contributed to the evolution of Cambodia’s demining doctrine. India has conducted demining training in Cambodia, including a $1.5 million grant for procuring demining equipment. It also provided 15 sniffer dogs in 2016 and four dogs in October last year, along with training for dog handlers,” she continued.
She said India is working with CMAA to render four villages in Koh Kong province mine-free, under the Mekong Ganga Cooperation project. The clearances will benefit around 7,000 people.
“India has always stood by Cambodia and shall always do so,” she said.
The camp in Banteay Meanchey will conclude on April 1, after a month of providing services. It is expected to assist 600-650 individuals.