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India’s speaker of parliament plans April visit to deepen ties

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Om Birla, speaker of India’s Lok Sabha, after attending the parliament session in New Delhi in June 2019. AFP

India’s speaker of parliament plans April visit to deepen ties

A high-level delegation from India led by Om Birla – the speaker of Lok Sabha, the Lower House of India’s bicameral parliament – is due to pay a four-day visit to Cambodia from April 21- 24 to enhance relations and cooperation between the two country across all sectors.

According to a press release on the outcome of the April 12 meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee, Birla’s delegation will include other members of India’s parliament and their visit comes at the invitation of National Assembly (NA) president Heng Samrin to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“The purpose of this visit is to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and India and to strengthen and develop the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries in both the legislative and executive branches in a more comprehensive way,” the press release said.

NA spokesman Leng Peng Long said at a press conference after the meeting that he had briefed the NA Standing Committee regarding preparations for the visit.

“India is a long-time friend of Cambodia – in part because India recognised the Kingdom of Cambodia as an independent country even before we had gained our official independence from France in 1952-53,” he said.

He added that their two countries have never had any serious conflicts or disagreements but during the Pol Pot-era from 1975-1979, India severed relations with Cambodia to protest that regime’s brutality, but they immediately renewed diplomatic ties once the Khmer Rouge were driven from power.

Peng Long went on to say that India has long established friendly relations and extensive cooperation across many sectors of Cambodian society.

“Another main goal is that India would like to invite King Sihamoni to visit their country this year – preferably as soon as possible – as a means of advancing our positive relationship even further,” he said.

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