H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to Cambodia, accompanied by a team of officials from the Embassy, visited the Cambodia Academy for Digital Technology (CADT) on Mar. 1, as part of the Azadi ki Amrit Mahostsav celebrations.

H.E. Ambassador was warmly welcomed by H.E. Dr. Seng Sopheap, President of CADT, all the three Directors looking after Education & Training, Research and Innovation Centres in the CADT and other senior officials.

H.E. Dr. Seng Sopheap and his team gave an overview of various activities of CADT in training, research and innovation and graduate, post graduate and other short-term training courses offered by the Centre of Excellence for Software Development and Training (CESDT), established by the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund of approximately Indian Rs. 100 million. Dr. Sopheap profusely thanked the Government of India and CDAC for establishing such a Centre of Excellence, which is helping Cambodia in building capacity in developing soft skills, not only from the students’ point of view but also from the point of view of Government officials, who are provided IT related training in the Centre at the request of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Dr. Sopheap informed H.E. Ambassador that so far more than 500 Government officials undertook IT training at the Centre and many more training courses are being planned in response to the requests received from various Ministries/Departments from the Royal Government of Cambodia. Currently, around 500 students pursue their degree and post graduate degree courses every year in the Centre. For pursuing regular academic studies in the Academy, students have to take an extremely competitive entrance test. Currently, 40 percent of the students pursuing various academic courses are female and many of them are from rural areas.

Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade said that Cambodia remains an important interlocutor and a good partner in the ASEAN and India is fully committed to add more substance to the friendship through our ‘Act East’ policy and various initiatives under India-ASEAN Cooperation Framework, India-CLMV Cooperation and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation. India also looks forward to be a partner in Cambodia’s economic development, through continuation of capacity building efforts, financial support in terms of grants and concessional loans, etc. India offers 25 scholarships every year to Cambodian students for under-graduate, post graduate and higher studies in various colleges/universities in India.

H.E. Ambassador requested CADT to disseminate information about various scholarships offered by the Government of India and encourage CADT’s students to avail these valuable opportunities, more especially in IT and other related fields, to study in India. In this connection, H.E. Dr. Khobragade also recalled Prime Minister Modi’s announcement during the 25th Anniversary Commemorative ASEAN Summit offering up to 1,000 Ph.D. Integrated Fellowships for ASEAN students in the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), which have produced world class talent. She also conveyed that this fellowship programme is the single largest capacity development initiative of India in its partnership with ASEAN and requested CADT to encourage Cambodian students and others to avail the Fellowship facility in large numbers.

Ambassador Khobragade, inter alia, also drew attention to Line of Credit of US$ 1 billion committed by India to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and ASEAN and conveyed that if there are any connectivity projects in pipeline, Cambodia may like to draw funding from this LoC. She conveyed that a Common Service Centre (e-Seva Kendras) project on a pilot basis in Treang district of Takeo province is under active consideration of the Government of India and if the pilot project is successful in serving the needs of the unserved and under-served rural population, Cambodia would be considering various digital connectivity projects in Cambodia with the LoC of US$ 1 billion offered by the Government of India for connectivity projects in the ASEAN countries. She also touched upon another proposal that is under active consideration of the Government of India to depute an Adviser at a senior level to Cambodia to advise the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications on various technology and policy related matters.

According to a press release of the Embassy of India in Cambodia, at the CADT, during her visit to CADT, a Certificate and Prize Distribution ceremony was also organised for 18 Cambodian students, who participated in the ASEAN-India Hackathon, a 36-hour non-stop Hackathon that was held online from Feb. 1-3, 2021 in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development, All India Council for Technical Education and Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India and the respective countries’ line Ministries.

The ASEAN-India Hackathon was held in pursuance of Prime Minister of India’s announcement at the 16th ASEAN-India Summit in Bangkok in 2019, to offer opportunities to youngsters in all 10 ASEAN countries and India to collaborate and work on new concepts to offer innovative and sustainable solutions for some of the daunting problems faced by our societies.

Cambodian students, though were less in number (18), won a total prize money of US$ 4,050/- and placed second among the 10 ASEAN member countries after Malaysian students who participated more in numbers (29).

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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