Ansari underlines need for exploiting potential of Indo-Cambodian trade

Phnom Penh: Vice-President Hamid Ansari has lauded the friendship between India and Cambodia, while underlining the vast potential for both economic and defence cooperation between them.

Stating that the glorious past and shared cultural ties between both the countries creates a strong platform for cooperation in the future, Ansari pointed out that despite extremely cordial political relations and diverse areas of cooperation, bilateral trade and investments between the two Asian nations remained much below potential. He, however, hailed Cambodia for maintaining a growth of seven per cent over the past few years.

“As a part of our initiatives, India has recently set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to attract Indian investments to Cambodia and other CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam) countries. We hope to launch this new initiative soon, and I am confident, that in the near future, more Indian companies will explore the investment opportunities here,” said Ansari, while addressing the Cambodian Council of Ministers here.

Hailing India’s partnership with Cambodia in capacity building as well as several training and educational programmes, Ansari said both nations on Thursday had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance tourism and to give a boost to tourists’ exchange.

He also conveyed to Prime Minister Hun Sen, India’s decision to support several projects under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation programme targeting the health sector, agriculture and women’s empowerment for the benefit of local communities and improvement of public welfare.

Ansari also pointed to India’s enhanced engagement in the East, while highlighting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Act East Policy’ – a shift from earlier ‘Look East Policy’.

“The current economic relationship between India and ASEAN countries presents a multitude of industrial, commercial, and investment opportunities. India has welcomed ASEAN’s plans to establish economic and political relationships with neighbouring nations, while India and ASEAN have increasingly supported bilateral trade, promoted foreign investment, and strengthened diplomatic relations,” he said, adding the CLMV countries are of particular interest to India as these countries include some of the fastest growing economies in the region and are primarily agrarian, and have enjoyed certain degree of macroeconomic stability in recent years, with vast potential for future development.

Highlighting that there is a good scope for sharing experiences for mutual benefit between the two countries, Ansari said agriculture and agro processing sector, mining, oil and gas and small and medium enterprises offered opportunities for trade and investment by Indian business houses and India’s endeavour would be to encourage various companies and businesses to explore the emerging opportunities in these areas. “For this, we look forward to support not only from Government of Cambodia but businesses here,” he added.

Stating that the spreading tide of extremism and terrorism is a threat that both countries face, Ansari said successfully dealing with such threats required strong cooperation among like-minded partners and that both nations had taken some steps to institutionalise cooperation in the area and would continue to pursue more regular exchanges between their security personnel.

“We look forward to Cambodia’s strong support in building bridges and deepening of our relationship with the entire region,” he said. (ANI)