Vice President Hamid Ansari will embark on a four-day visit to Cambodia and Laos from Tuesday during which he will hold extensive talks with the leadership of the two growing Asian economies to strengthen ties and boost economic engagement as part of India’s Act East policy.
He will arrive in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Tuesday. Stepping up trade, investment, tourism and cultural linkages will be high on his agenda during the talks there. The visit to Laos will be the first ever by an Indian Vice President.
“Visits to Cambodia and Laos, two important growing economies, will definitely reaffirm our pursuit of an enduring partnership with countries of ASEAN region which is part of our Act East policy,” Secretary East Anil Wadhwa told reporters while briefing on Ansari’s visit.
The Vice President’s visit to Cambodia at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen will focus particularly on shoring up bilateral trade and investment which remains “much below potential”.
“Cambodia is a growing economy that has maintained a growth rate of about 7 per cent over the last several years. It is seeking greater socio-economic development. They are also a very young nation much like India and they are looking at opportunities for human resource development. We will assure them that they can count on India as a willing development partner,” Wadhwa said.
In Cambodia, the Vice President will also visit Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm temples in Siem Reap province.
“We are also involved in the conservation and preservation of these great monuments and we hope that the Vice President’s visit to these sites will encourage people to people contact as well as tourism,” Wadhwa said.
Besides holding bilateral talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun, Vice- President Ansari will also meet National Assembly President Heng Samrin and call on Acting Head of State and President of the Senate Say Chhum.
He will also meet Indian community in Cambodia.
After visiting the Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm temples, Vice- President will leave for Laotian capital of Vientiane on Thursday.
In Laos, he will hold talks with his Laotian counterpart Bounnhang Vorachith. He will also call on President Choummaly Sayasone and meet Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.
Vice- President Ansari will also meet Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Vice President of the National Assembly Xaysomphone Phomvihane.
With Lao PDR, India shares deep cultural links as with Cambodia, Wadhwa said.
This will not only be the first visit to Laos by an Indian Vice President but also the first high-level visit after the trip by former President Pratibha Patil in 2010.
“India-Laos commercial ties need to be strengthened because the present bilateral trade again like Cambodia is not reflective of our potential. There seems to be a need for an interaction between industry chambers, participation in each other’s exhibition etc and the Indian private sector will be encouraged by this visit to explore opportunities in Laos,” Wadhwa said.