The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that India and Cambodia share the common heritage of Buddhism and the philosophy of compassion, tolerance and non-violence. Addressing at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia today, he said that our shared legacy is reflected in the religious and cultural ties that bind us. Hinduism and Buddhism spread out across Asia from India. The structures at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon and other historical sites bear testimony to the flourishing exchanges and cultural synthesis between our peoples.
He said that our exchanges and cultural flows were disrupted in the period of colonialism. After India won her independence in 1947, we have made a conscious effort to re-engage with our brothers and sisters in South East Asia. Our early political cooperation in the Non-Aligned Forum and the re-invigoration of our relationship since 1981, provide us with a strong and much trusted base upon which a towering edifice of friendship can now be built.
The Vice President said that the Cambodia today has transformed itself in the last two decades. Emerging from a period of strife and disturbance, the Cambodian nation today is stable and peaceful with a growing economy and is playing its rightful role in the region. This is an inspiring story.
He said that Cambodia, like India, has a young population. In order to address the aspirations of our youth, we have embarked upon a strong skill development programme in India. We have a partnership with Cambodia for capacity building, as well as several training and educational programmes. I am very happy to learn that a large number of Cambodians have benefitted from these. The Entrepreneurship Development Center established in Phnom Penh with Indian assistance has been contributing fruitfully to this end. We would look forward to strengthening and augmenting the facilities there.
The Vice President said that 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 neighboring nations, and India and ASEAN have increasingly supported bilateral trade, promoted foreign investment, and strengthened diplomatic relations. Even among our ASEAN partners, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam, which form the CLMV countries, are of particular interest to India. These countries include some of the fastest growing economies in the region, are primarily agrarian, and have enjoyed certain degree of macroeconomic stability in recent years, with vast potential for future development.
He opined that we need to delineate more precisely the contours of our relationship in the coming years. Our glorious past and shared cultural ties create a strong platform for cooperation in the future. Despite extremely cordial political relations the diverse areas of cooperation, our bilateral trade and investments remains much below its potential. Cambodia has maintained a growth of 7% in the last few years. Your Government is also undertaking policies to further attract investments and broad base the economy. The recent launch of the new Industrial Policy is a step in that direction. In India too the economy is back on an upward trajectory and we hope to maintain good economic growth in the foreseeable future.