PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – The Indian government is giving about $4 million to conserve the Preah Vihear temple complex, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry.
Mr. Sounry said that the Indian government already has spent around $15 million to conserve Preah Vihear, which was built about 1,000 years ago as a Hindu place of worship. The new grants were announced Tuesday at a meeting between Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and India’s newly arrived Ambassador Naveen Srivastava.
The two diplomats pledged to strengthen cooperation on business and tourism and talked about the need to address direct flights between India and Cambodia.
Addressing another sore point in bilateral relations, Hor Namhong, a Deputy Prime Minister, also asked the ambassador to stop work on an Angkor Wat Temple replica, planned by Mahavir Mandir, a Hindu trust based in the eastern Indian state of Bikar.
“Angkor Wat Temple is the heart of Cambodia, and the Indian government stated that this construction won’t break the good relationship between both countries, and they promise to stop the company which plans to build it,” Mr. Sounry said. Construction reportedly was suspended after Cambodia sent a diplomatic protest note to India in June.
“The Ambassador told the Deputy Prime Minister that the government of India advised the private company to change the style and structure [in the blueprint] in order to avoid copying from Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple,” the spokesman told reporters after the meeting, according to Xinhua.
He said the Indian side will invite Cambodia to check the revised blueprint when it is completed.