Sushma Swaraj arrives in Cambodia to strengthen bilateral ties


Phnom Penh: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today arrived on her first official visit to Cambodia, aiming to deepen India’s strategic cooperation with one of the key ASEAN countries amidst China’s rising influence in the region.

Swaraj’s arrived here from Vietnam on the concluding leg of her four-day two-nation tour.  She was received by Indian Ambassador to Cambodia, Manika Jain, and other senior officials at the Phnom Penh international airport, the Indian Embassy here tweeted.

During the two-day visit, Swaraj will hold extensive talks with her Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn, covering the entire spectrum of the bilateral and regional issues of mutual interests.   She will call on Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Senate Say Chhum.  India’s ties are on an upswing with Vietnam and Cambodia — the two major countries in the powerful Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping.

India and Cambodia have enjoyed friendly relations for a long time. Both the countries formally established diplomatic relations in 1952. In 2000, Cambodia vowed its full support for India to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Swaraj’s visit to the two key ASEAN nations is seen as India’s attempt to balance China’s rising influence in the Southeast Asian region.