Phnom Penh: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday held wild-ranging talks with Cambodian Premier Hun Sen to discuss a host of issues including shoring up of economic engagement and conveyed India's decision to support several projects in Cambodia under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.
Ansari held talks with Hun Sen at the Peace Palace which was followed by delegation-level parleys and signing of two MoU -- one on tourism and the other on "quick impact projects".
Under the MoU on "quick impact projects", there were four projects - two in healthcare, one on women's empowerment through information and communication technology and one on agriculture.
At the Peace Palace, Ansari was accorded ceremonial welcome and guard of honour.
Earlier in the morning, the Vice President visited the Independence Monument that was built in 1958 to symbolise Cambodian Independence from being a French protectorate. He also visited the Royal Memorial, a 27-metre tall shrine that has a bronze statue of Late King Norodom Sihanouk. He also laid a wreath at the two places.
School children had lined up along the rood to greet Ansari with flags and flowers.
After the talks, Ansari also delivered an address on Cambodia-India ties at the Office of the Council of Ministers. He then paid floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi's statue here.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Ansari conveyed the decision of the Indian government to support several projects under Mekong-Ganga Cooperation programme targeting the health sector, agriculture and women's empowerment.
"We hope that these projects would benefit local communities, and contribute to improvement of public welfare," Ansari said in the address at the Council of Ministers.
The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) was established in 2000 at Vientiane, Laos, at the First MGC Ministerial Meeting.
It comprises six member countries, namely India, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. They emphasised four areas of cooperation, which are tourism, culture, education, and transportation linkage.
Ansari's visit is focussed on shoring up economic ties with Cambodia as bilateral investment and trade remains "below potential".
Total bilateral trade for 2013-2014 between India and Cambodia was USD 153.98 million (Indian export of USD 141.26 million and import of USD 12.72 million).
Cambodia has been very supportive of India's position in multilateral fora, including in stepping up engagement with ASEAN and it has also extended its unconditional support for India's bid for a permanent UNSC seat.During his visit, Ansari will visit the Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm temples.
With India taking part in restoration of many cultural sites in the country, Ansari said, "the temples at Angkor are a reflection of our shared cultural heritage. We are very proud of our association in the restoration of historical heritage of Angkor Wat temple complex as well as other sites. We have recently completed major restoration project at Ta Prohm temples and look forward to starting a new phase of restoration there soon."
"Given our close cultural ties and civilisational links, we see a strong potential for tourism to develop between our two countries. Happily, we have been able to sign this morning a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance tourism. I am hopeful that this will boost tourist exchanges," he said.