India-Cambodia Current Affairs - 2019
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The 5th India-CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Business Conclave was held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was jointly organised by Ministry of Commerce & Industry along with Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is institutional partner of the event.
The business conclave provided opportunity for developing better understanding of CLMV economies which have untapped potential for development and offer more scope for enhancement of economic engagement with India. It saw participation of ministerial and business delegations from India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos consisting of about 400 delegates.
The conclave called for collaboration of CLMV countries and India on agriculture, health, tourism, education and connectivity to promote regional integration and creation of value chain and emphasised need for strengthening India-CLMV business and trade relations.
The sessions of conclave focussed on sectors such as SME, manufacturing, agriculture, plantation, fisheries and related industries, healthcare, education, information technology and skill development. It also highlighted need for greater connectivity, promoting small and medium enterprises, harnessing opportunities in service sector especially health care, tourism, transportation and logistics. It also stressed upon need to promote productivity and value addition in agriculture to address livelihood and employment issues.
India proposed setting up of India-Cambodia Chamber of commerce with institutional partnership between CII and Cambodian Chamber of Commerce. Such similar bilateral business forums will be also setup in Vietnam and Laos to institutionalize bilateral business to business engagements of India with each of CLMV countries.
CLMV region is considered as India’s gateway to entire ASEAN and provides access to huge markets of these countries. These four countries represents rapidly growing economy with rising consumption, strategic location and access, rich natural resources (oil, gas, copper, teak and gemstones), biodiversity and industrious workforce with low wages. They also offer significant opportunities for trade in goods and services, investment and project exports. India seeks to invest in CLMV countries (which are part of 10-member ASEAN group) to take advantage of free trade agreements they have with various countries such as China.
India and Cambodia have signed four agreements to boost bilateral cooperation between both countries. The agreements were signed after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Hun Sen in New Delhi.
Key Takeaways from comprehensive talks
Defence, security and counter-terrorism: Both leaders held talks to boost ties in key areas of defence, security and counter-terrorism and called for concerted global efforts to eliminate terrorism, including blocking terror financing and dismantling terrorist bases.
Enhance bilateral defence ties: They agreed to further enhance bilateral defence ties, including through exchanges of senior-level defence personnel and capacity building projects. They also discussed exploring ways to intensify development partnership and boost ties in key sectors, including trade and investment, energy conservation, agriculture, and tourism and culture.
Maritime Security: They also expressed keen interest in enhancing cooperation in maritime domain, including preservation of coastal and marine environment, anti-piracy cooperation, security of sea lanes of communication to maintain peace and ensure safety and security of navigation in Indo-Pacific Region. They also supported complete freedom of navigation and overflight and pacific resolution of maritime issues based on international law.
Agreements signed are
- Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP): It seeks to promote cultural exchange and strengthen the friendly relations between both countries.
- Credit Line Agreement: It was signed between India’s EXIM Bank Government of Cambodia for Line of Credit (LoC) to finance Stung Sva Hab Water Resource Development Project for US$ 36.92 million.
- Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters: It seeks to improve effectiveness of both countries in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes through cooperation and legal assistance in criminal matters.
- MoU on Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking: It seeks to increase bilateral cooperation on issues of prevention, rescue and repatriation related to human trafficking.
India-Cambodia bilateral relations are warm and cordial. The relations go back to 1st century AD when Hindu and Buddhist religious and cultural influences emanated out of India to various parts of Southeast Asia. Cambodians are predominantly Buddhist but retain strong influence of Hindu mythology, rituals and idolatry.