Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, India and Cambodia are committed to cooperating in numerous sectors, including education.
Indian Ambassador Dr Devyani Khobragade has commended Cambodia’s handling of the pandemic and said that with active cooperation between the two countries, both will overcome the scourge of Covid-19 soon. The Ambassador made the remarks at a virtual meeting with Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Monday.
In his opening remarks, Naron expressed solidarity and extended moral support to people of India, who are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with their utmost strength. He recalled the age-old civilisational and cultural links between the two countries; the deep influence of Sanskrit and Pali languages on Cambodia; past cooperation extended by the Ministry of Education in organising International Day of Yoga events in various provinces in Cambodia; amongst other bilateral issues.
The two also discussed various projects and ways to cooperate in order to strengthen various sectors in Cambodia.
On the two countries’ strengthening ties, Dr Khobragade recalled Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to India in January 2018. She also referred to her meeting with Mr Hun Sen in January this year, when they discussed the signing of the Bilateral Investment Treaty and initiating a bilateral Free Trade Agreement.
Both sides also discussed signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Universities of India and Cambodia; the Youth Exchange Programme; the active participation of Cambodian officials and students in ITEC and ICCR scholarships respectively; the joint organisation of events during the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Cambodia in 2022; India’s participation in various Asean and other related summits in Cambodia in 2022; India’s development cooperation through Quick Impact Projects in the fields of tourism, education, sanitation, health, IT and the promotion of Buddhist linkages and traditional medicine in each other’s countries.
On entering into a MoU between the premier universities of India and Cambodia, Naron suggested that a MoU could be signed between the Royal University of Phnom Penh and Nalanda University, modelled after one of the oldest Universities in India.
He said that due to Covid-19, the International Day of Yoga may be celebrated online in Phnom Penh. He also stated that if the Covid-19 pandemic situation remains problematic, many of the Asean-related side events may be held online. He also invited India to participate in the Ramayana Festival, which will be organised in the run up to the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in 2022. Dr Khobragade requested that Naron share the ministry’s annual plan which will help to earmark the areas in which the Indian Embassy can support and cooperate.
On Development Projects, the Ambassador expressed her desire to support educational projects that help young children, especially girls; STEM education; and digital literacy, including coding. Given India’s IT strengths, it was decided to also explore supporting the above goals through flagship programmes of the Ministry of Education such as the Basic Education Equivalency Programme in Cambodia (BEEP) and Provincial Teacher Training Centres (PTTCs).