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Kingdom’s ties with India blossom

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Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona, Indian ambassador Manika Jain and guests watch a dance performance on the occasion of 71st Republic Day of India celebration in Phnom Penh on Friday. Hean Rangsey

Kingdom’s ties with India blossom

Indian ambassador to Cambodia Manika Jain said Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit as a state guest and guest of honour at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2018, set the pace for her tenure in Cambodia.

Speaking on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day of India celebration in Phnom Penh on Friday, she said since then, Indo-Cambodian relations have made much headway.

Guest of honour at the event was Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona.

Summing up the bilateral relations, Jain said: “As a result, Quick Impact Projects, which are short duration ones for immediate socio-economic impact, were doubled in 2018.

“We have been successful in rolling them out last year as well. Ten projects have been financed and we are hopeful that three of them will be completed in the next two months.

“Ten more projects, out of which eight agreements have already been signed, will commence this year, apart from celebrating two decades of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation with Cambodia as a co-chair.”

On agriculture, Jain said India had been using digital and information technology to assist farmers to monitor soil health in their fields to gain optimal produce.

“India has agreed to assist Cambodia to prepare a Soil Health Card for Cambodian farmers. Indian experts visited in December last year and we hope to move forward on the pilot project soon.

“We also handed over 800 water hand pumps after completion of their installation in Tbong Khmum and Kampong Cham provinces last year. To date, 1,100 such pumps have been installed,” she said.

Jain said 1,000 research and post-doctoral scholarships at the world-renowned Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) were announced during the Asean-India Commemorative Summit in 2012.

Scholarships for all 10 Asean countries were launched a few months ago.

A delegation from IIT Delhi, which is the nodal Institution, she said, had also visited Cambodia to interact with universities and research institutions to explain the initiative.

“We are quite delighted to see immense interest in Cambodia for these research openings in India. The first batch of fellowships is about to be announced soon,” she said.

On training and capacity building, Jain said last year customised training for members of Senate, National Election Committee, Ministry of Justice, leadership courses for women and civil servants and other useful programmes were also offered.

On Technology and Civil Cooperation, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Cambodian Police Academy and the Gujarat Forensic Science University for training in Cyber Security and Forensic Sciences.

Another MoU was signed between the Indian Department of Telecommunication and Cambodian Ministry of Post and Telecommunication for collaboration in the sector.

On bilateral trade, Jain said it increased by 25.56 per cent in 2018, and last year, the increase was estimated to be about 36 per cent.

“This would not have been possible if the Cambodian economy was not booming,” she said.

Jain said while last year was difficult for global trade and business, Cambodia did exceptionally well and congratulated the government and people.

The Cambodian success story, she said, is increasing interest among Indian investors to seek opportunities here.

Despite a slowdown in India’s growth rate, the country became a $3 trillion economy last year.

“This means the size of the Indian economy grew by 50 per cent just in the last five years. India is now the fifth-largest economy in the world and I encourage Cambodian businesses to look west,” she said.

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