Press Release on Army Talk

Embassy of India

Phnom Penh

Press Release

Army to Army Staff Talks (AAST) between Indian Army and Royal Cambodian Army

     The inaugural Army to Army Staff Talks (AAST) between the Indian Army and the Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) took place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from April 24 to April 27, 2023.

The Staff Talks were held as envisaged in the Terms of Reference signed between the Indian Army and the Royal Cambodian Army during the maiden visit to India in February 2023 of then Lt. General Hun Manet, Deputy Commander in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and Commander in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Army.

A two-member Indian Army delegation led by a Major General Rank officer along with the Defence Attaché of India accredited to Cambodia participated in the AAST. The Indian Army Delegation, during their four-day stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia, held bilateral meetings with a RCA delegation led by Lt Gen Prak Savanna, Deputy Commander of Royal Cambodian Army and Deputy Commander of the 4 Military Region. The Indian delegation also visited the Peace Museum of Mine Action and was briefed on the ongoing demining operations in Cambodia during their visit to the 4 Military Region.

The two sides discussed enhancing training cooperation, conduct of tailor made courses for the RCA personnel in India, deputation of experts from India, Indian assistance for demining operations by the Royal Cambodian Army, and capacity enhancement through military hardware. A roadmap for defense cooperation activities between both armies was also developed.

India’s defense linkages with Cambodia go back many years. India had provided a contingent of 2,250 personnel, including both military and non-military, for the conduct of the UNTAC sponsored elections in 1993. This contingent was highly appreciated by Cambodians of all factions. India was also among the initial contributors to UN de-mining operations in Cambodia. The Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, as part of UNTAC, contributed significantly to evolving a demining doctrine relevant to local conditions. The defense cooperation has been continuing with the conduct of training capsules for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in demining and peacekeeping modules, defense courses under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), goodwill visits by Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ships, and the exchange of official delegations.

In recent years, India-Cambodia defense cooperation has gained new momentum with a number of high level interactions. The visit by Lt. Gen. Hun Manet to India and wide-ranging interactions with Indian leadership immensely strengthened the defense cooperation between India and Cambodia. Earlier, the Defense Minister of India visited Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 21-24 November, 2022 to attend the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus and the maiden India-ASEAN Defence Ministers` Informal Meeting. The Defense Minister of India held meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence of Cambodia during the visit. In 2018 too, India`s Defense Minister visited Cambodia along with a high-level delegation for bilateral interactions.

A bilateral Agreement on Defense Cooperation between India and Cambodia is already in place since 2007. The Army to Army Staff Talks (AAST) have further institutionalized interaction between the two armies, and the next round of talks will be held in India.

Phnom Penh

April 28, 2023