The Vice President (VP) of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, visited Cambodia for 3 days from November 11 to 13, 2022, on his first-ever foreign visit.
- During his visit, he attended the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) India Commemorative Summit and the 17th East Asia Summit.
Significance of India – Cambodia Relations
i.The year 2022 marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and Cambodia.
- Cambodia is recognised as a key interlocutor and partner in India’s “Act East” policy and ASEAN.
ii.The temples in Cambodia, such as Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Ta Prohm, and Preah Vihear, depict the cultural ties between Cambodia and India.
- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is involved in the restoration and conservation work at these cultural heritage sites.
iii.The year 2022 has also been designated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year, as ASEAN and India celebrate 30 years of partnership.
- It also commemorates the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership.
Vice President leads delegation at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Cambodia
On a 3-day visit to Cambodia, India’s VP, Jagdeep Dhankhar, led the Indian delegation, which included the External Affairs Minister (EAM), Dr. S. Jaishankar, to the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
- The summit was chaired by VP of India Jagdeep Dhankhar.
- The India-ASEAN partnership is the building block of India’s ACT-EAST policy.
i.A joint statement was adopted by ASEAN and India at the summit declaring the upgrading of their current strategic partnership into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
ii.Both sides reiterated the significance of sustaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety & security, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific Region.
iii.The joint statement also suggested facilitating the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade-facilitative.
Vice President Meetings
i.The VP of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, met with HM King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia at the Royal Palace.
ii.The VP met with Mr. Hun Sen, the Prime Minister (PM) of Cambodia, along with EAM, Dr. S. Jaishankar.
- The VP has upgraded the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship from 30 to 50, and the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC) slots for Cambodia from 200 to 250.
iii.Later, the VP—who also serves as the Rajya Sabha’s chairman—met with Mr. Say Chhum, the Senate President of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and discussed ways to improve ties between the two parliaments.
iv.The VP also observed Khmer artworks at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
Note: On the sidelines, the VP met with Vietnam’s PM, Mr. Pham Minh Chinh.
India Contributes Additional USD 5 Million To ASEAN-India Science & Tech Fund
The VP of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, has announced an additional USD 5 million contribution to the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Fund to strengthen cooperation in public health, renewable energy, and smart agriculture.
- The declaration was made during the VP’s 3-day visit to Cambodia for the 19th ASEAN-India and 17th East Asia summits.
i.The establishment of the ASEAN-India S&T Working Group (AIWGST) in 1996 marked the official beginning of ASEAN-India Science & Technology Collaboration.
ii.Initially, the ASEAN India Fund (AIF) supported the joint research & development (R&D) projects and development activities between India and ASEAN.
- However, in 2008, the ASEAN India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF) was formed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) with an equivalent sum of USD 1 million.
iii.On the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Summit in Malaysia in November 2015, PM Narendra Modi announced USD 5 million to the AISTDF.
VP Jagdeep Dhankhar Participates In 17th East Asia Summit in Cambodia
The VP of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, attended the 17th East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The East Asia Summit (EAS) brought together 10 ASEAN member countries and 8 dialogue partners.
- The 10 ASEAN member states – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam
- The 8 dialogue partners – India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
i.The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the leading platform for strategic discussion in the Indo-Pacific.
- It is the only leader-led forum where all main Indo-Pacific partners convene to discuss the region’s political, security, and economic concerns.
ii.On the fringes of the 17th East Asia Summit, the VP of India also had a meeting with US President Joe Biden.
Note: The 16th East Asia Summit was held on October 27, 2021, virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
VP Jagdeep Dhankhar inaugurates ‘Hall of Dancers’ in Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia
Following his address at the EAS summit, the VP inaugurated the completed conservation work on the “Hall of Dancers” in Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor archaeological site in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
i.The ASI and the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) have been working together on the conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm since 2011.
ii.The Angkor Wat Temple Complex is a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
iii.India undertook the restoration and preservation of Angkor Wat from 1986-1993 at a total cost of USD 4 million.
- The Hall of Dancers is a joint endeavour under this project for the preservation and restoration of Cambodian cultural heritage.
- India is currently working on the third phase of restoration and preservation.
India & Cambodia Sign Four MoUs in the Fields of Culture, Wildlife, and Health
On the fringes of the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, VP of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, met with Cambodian PM Hun Sen. Four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed in the presence of the leaders in the fields of culture, wildlife, and health.
- First MoU: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), Government of India (GoI) and the Ministry of Health, Cambodia signed an MoU in the areas of health & medicine.
- Second MoU: The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), GoI, and the Ministry of Environment, Cambodia, signed an MoU regarding the reintroduction of tigers in Cambodia for Cooperation in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Wildlife Management.
- Third MoU: The Indian Institute of Technology–Jodhpur (IIT–Jodhpur), Rajasthan and Institute of Technology, Cambodia, signed an MoU in the field of Research, Development and Application of Technology for Digital Documentation of Cultural Heritage.
- Fourth MoU: A Financing Agreement for the conservation and preservation of Wat Raja Bo pagoda paintings in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
First-Ever ASEAN-India Start-Up Festival 2022 Bolsters ASEAN-India Cooperation
The first-ever ASEAN-India Start-Up Festival 2022 was launched to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ASEAN and India’s friendship in 2022.
- The festival was organised by the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) in partnership with the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and the IIT Kanpur Start-up Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC).
Participating start-ups competed in a pitch deck competition called “Pitch Battle” for a total prize of USD 7,500.
According to the ASEAN-India Partnership Plan of Action for Peace, Progress, and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025), the ASEAN-India Startup Festival is a flagship project strengthening cooperation and collaboration in science, technology, and innovation between ASEAN Member States and India.
Status of Startups in India:
i.Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2021 featured the emergence of 25 new unicorns, with a combined valuation of USD 55.4 billion.
ii.India now has the 3rd-largest startup ecosystem in the world, with over 77,000 recognised startups spread across the nation.
iii.As of September 2022, India has 107 unicorns with a combined worth of USD 340 billion.
- Out of the total number of unicorns, 44 were born in 2021, with a market value of USD 93 billion.
- Furthermore, 21 unicorns have been born in 2022, with a market value of USD 26.99 billion.
About the Kingdom of Cambodia:
Prime Minister – Hun Sen
Capital – Phnom Penh
Currency – Cambodian Riel