Thursday, November 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India offers $ 10m loan to Cambodia

Phnom Penh, November 6
In a special gesture, India today extended a $ 10 million line of credit on exceptionally preferential terms to Cambodia and signed three other agreements with the South-East Asian country to boost trade, carry out restoration work on 1000-year-old Ta Prohm and extend cooperation in technical education.

The accord on the line of credit was signed here by External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Cambodian Finance Minister Kaat Chhom shortly after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee held wide-ranging talks with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

“The credit line is on exceptionally preferential terms with low interest and a repayment period spread over 25 years with a grace period of another five years. This has been done as Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in 10-member ASEAN,” Mr R.M. Abhyankar, Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry told reporters.

He said the loan to Cambodia would help boost its economic activity in line with the pledge given by India to bring the four lesser developed ASEAN countries— Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam— on a par with the six other more developed nations in the grouping.

Mr Vajpayee, who left for neighbouring Laos after having attended the first India-ASEAN summit, agreed to a suggestion by Hun Sen to extend cooperation in building the Cambodian section of a railway line with Singapore, Malaysia may join India in that project.

The agreement on the line of credit had been under discussion since Mr Vajpayee visited Cambodia in April last year and takes into account the requirements specified under the WTO.

Under the accord to restore the Ta Prohm temple in the Cambodia city of Seam Reap that houses the world famous Angkor Vat complex, India would provide Rs 25 crore to Cambodia to restore the 11th century temple which was initially dedicated to Lord Bramha and is now a Buddhist temple.

The restoration work on the temple, where huge trees have grown into the complex, would take about a decade and would be carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Two other accords were on cooperation between IIT, Mumbai, and the Cambodian Institute of Technology and a memorandum of understanding to promote trade and economic cooperation.

Terming the Vajpayee-Hun Sen talks as “incredibly positive”, Mr Abhyankar said India promised to provide experts to handle issues relating to the WTO to Cambodia and also work towards ensuring membership of that country in the trade organisation.

On the railway project in Cambodia to connect it with Singapore, he said New Delhi would send a team to Phnom Penh to prepare a project report.

Discussions also took place on construction of roads in Cambodia, with India expressing its keenness in helping create a basic infrastructure, the Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry added.

The agreement on mutual trade cooperation was signed by Mr Sinha and Cambodian Commerce Minister Chan Prasit while another on cooperation between the IIT, Mumbai, and the Cambodian Institute of Technology was reached between Mumbai IIT Director Ashok Mishra and his counterpart IM Sethy.

In a symbolic gesture, Mr Vajpayee gifted to Hun Sen a bag of rice signifying the consignment of 10,000 tonnes of the foodgrain which is being sent to Combodia from India.

Kirloskar, an Indian company, also donated 12 water pumps to the nation on the occasion. PTI

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