King Norodom Sihamoni arrived in New Delhi on his three-day state visit to India on May 29. He was warmly welcomed by Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, upon his arrival.
“This is an excellent opportunity to further deepen the civilisational relations between India and Cambodia,” tweeted Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Indian external affairs ministry.
The king departed for India on the morning of May 29, as the two nations commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin saw the King off at the Phnom Penh International Airport.
A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the King will grant royal audiences with Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which bilateral and multilateral cooperation will be discussed.
He will also grant separate royal audiences to Indian Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar and foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. He will also lay a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and President Murmu will host a state banquet in honour of the King.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was quoted by NDTV as saying in a statement that the visit takes place nearly 60 years after that of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk in 1963.
“India and Cambodia enjoy warm and friendly relations marked by civilisational, cultural and economic links and deep-rooted people-to-people ties,” it said.
“The multi-faceted relationship is based on shared cultural values, a commitment to fostering economic growth, collaboration in the fields of defence and security, and convergence on regional and global issues,” it added.
Ky Sereyvath, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia and director of its China Studies Centre, said the King’s visit would improve Cambodia-India relations, noting that India is one of the most powerful countries in the world, with a thriving industry, the world’s largest population and a capable military.
“Strengthening ties between Cambodia and India will lead to the development of diplomacy. India has certain geopolitical influence and produces many industrial products that are imported to Cambodia,” he said.
“These include rickshaws, medicine and technology. We also import several meat products, like beef and buffalo meat. Closer ties will fulfil mutual needs and contribute to the economic growth of both peoples,” he added.
He also noted that the Kingdom exports many products to India, including garments, textiles, bicycles and even some electronic items.
“In the future, India could prove to be a fruitful market for Cambodia, as its population is more than 1.2 billion,” he said.
According to the Indian embassy in Phnom Penh, the total trade volume between the two countries increased from $240 million in 2021 to $289 million last year, with Indian goods imports comprising more than $190 million.
The embassy expects that the trade volume will continue to increase, noting that 50 Indian companies are currently doing business in Cambodia, with a focus on real estate, pharmaceutical, information technology, rickshaws and gold mining.