As he arrived in the Cambodian capital Tuesday evening on a four-day official visit to Cambodia and Lao PDR, India Vice-President Hamid Ansari spoke about the ancient linkages between the two countries and the need to realise the full potential of this relationship. On Wednesday, India moved closer to that aim with the Vice-President holding wide-ranging talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The two countries signed two MoUs— one on tourism, the other an umbrella agreement on quick impact projects on infrastructure, health and women empowerment. Ansari also conveyed to Sen the decision of the Indian government to support several projects under the Mekong Ganga Cooperation.
Addressing a gathering of Cambodian ministers, top officials and students, Ansari underlined India’s enhanced agreement in the East, pointing out that a rapidly developing India and ASEAN can be great partners for each other. “Geographically, Cambodia lies at the heart of ASEAN. For us in India, our relationship with Cambodia is a key element of our engagement with ASEAN,” he said.
Cambodian Deputy PM Sok An urged Ansari to get Bollywood to shoot in Cambodia and reiterated the demand for a direct flight between the countries.
Ansari also spoke about the need to boost bilateral trade, which stood at USD 153.98 million for 2013-2014. “Despite extremely cordial political relations and the diverse areas of cooperation, our bilateral trade and investments remain much below its potential. As part of our initiatives, the government has recently set up a special purpose vehicle to attract Indian investments into Cambodia and other CLMV countries. We hope to launch this new initiative soon,” he said. Ansari will visit Angkor Wat Thursday.