India will provide 15 mine sniffing dogs to Cambodia to help the Southeast Asian state with its demining efforts, the Cambodian foreign ministry reportedly confirmed yesterday.
On July 4, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn met with Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Naveen Srivastava at the ministry. Following their meeting, Xinhua cited a Cambodian foreign ministry press release as saying that India had decided to provide 15 mine-sniffing dogs to Cambodia and to train 15 Cambodian employees to deal with the dogs.
“The minister highly valued the decision of the Indian government to provide 15 mine sniffing dogs (to Cambodia) and to train 15 Cambodian employees to control the dogs,” the press release reportedly said.
Cambodia is widely cited as one of the most landmine impacted countries in the world, with millions of mines laid during decades of conflict still uncleared and tens of thousands of casualties recorded since the 1980s. The Cambodian government, United Nations, as well as several individual countries and international and local organizations continue to make demining a key priority in their assistance to the country.
For India, its assistance in this respect is not new. India has made contributions to demining work in several countries, including Mozambique, Somalia, and Angola. And New Delhi was in fact one of the original contributors to United Nations demining operations in Cambodia, a point that foreign ministry officials repeatedly stress.
Demining assistance has also been part of a broadening of defense cooperation witnessed between India and Cambodia over the past few years, which has included more exchanges and visits, pacts, and training. India has provided demining equipment to Cambodia and Indian Army Engineers have been giving annual training to demining companies of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) for nearly a decade now.