King Norodom Sihamoni received a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi on May 30, as he pays a three-day state visit marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the King, who also paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the highly revered leader of India’s non-violent independence movement.
“Delighted to welcome King HM Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia. Our nations share deep historical and cultural ties, and we look forward to strengthening our friendship and cooperation even further. May his visit mark a new chapter in India-Cambodia relations,” Modi tweeted.
Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said the King’s visit reaffirms the strong bond between the two countries. He highlighted the cooperation in heritage conservation, demining, water conservation, and socio-economic projects as expressions of this bond.
In a bilateral meeting on May 30, the King and Indian vice-president Jagdeep Dhankhar discussed various areas of mutual interest, including capacity building, conservation of architectural monuments, defence cooperation and parliamentary collaboration, confirmed Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Arindam Bagchi.
India and Cambodia have long-standing warm and friendly relations, rooted in shared cultural values and economic cooperation. The multifaceted ties encompass economic growth, defence and security collaboration, and alignment on regional and global issues, according to a May 26 press release from the MEA.
India actively supports Cambodia in capacity building and human resource development through training opportunities provided by the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and scholarships offered by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The press release also mentioned India’s financial assistance for development projects, including the conservation and restoration of ancient temples like Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Preah Vihar.
Furthermore, India has extended a $1.5 million grant for demining equipment and a $50 million line of credit for defence equipment procurement by Cambodia. Customised training courses are conducted for Cambodian army personnel in India, and Indian army mobile training teams have been deployed to Cambodia for this purpose.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, emphasised the traditional and mutually supportive nature of Cambodia-India relations, which date back to the time of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk. Peou also highlighted India’s influence on Cambodian culture and temple restoration, stating that the strengthening of the relationship is a positive outcome of the King’s recent visit to India.
The visit symbolises the connection between two nations and acknowledges India’s role as the world’s largest democratic country. Peou also praised India’s assistance in Cambodia’s peace-building efforts and other social endeavours, commending their democratic stance and commitment to centralism.