Brief on Indian Diaspora in Cambodia Indian Diaspora

Brief on Indian Diaspora in Cambodia

Indian Diaspora in Cambodia

The first Indians in modern times to settle in Cambodia arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of them came from the Southern province of Tamil Nadu and they worked as jewelers, moneylenders and traders around Central Market in Phnom Penh. But they had to leave the country once the Khmer Rouge arrived. The Indians returned to Cambodia when Khmer Rouge was defeated. In fact, after the fall of Khmer Rouge, India was one of the first countries to establish an embassy in Cambodia in 1981. By that time, Cambodia was still largely isolated from the rest of the world.

Indian population in Cambodia is though small in number but it remains an intimate and close-knit group that has integrated well into local society. Approximate population of Indians in Cambodia is around 2000, which includes floating population of small scale sellers of household items from eastern India. Indians in Cambodia in general are working as professionals like doctors, NGO workers and also involved in business sectors like pharmaceuticals, education, restaurants, agriculture and plantations etc. Some of them are working for various institutions of the United Nations and also as advisors to Cambodian government agencies and institutions. The growing economy and stability in Cambodia is also attracting more opportunity seekers from India.

Despite small numbers of Indians in Cambodia, Indian culture is visible in this country. Indians usually mix in well with the local population. Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi are celebrated by the Indian community. Similarities in various cultural/religious practices of India and Cambodia make Indians feel at home in Cambodia. Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism are traditionally linked together and share traditions, rituals and holidays. Due to reach of satellite television, popular Hindi soap operas and films are shown by local TV channels dubbed in local Khmer language. Hindi film DVDs can be bought throughout the capital, and expatriates can peruse a number of Indian-based websites for the latest news and entertainment.

The Indian Association Cambodia (IAC) is a non-profit Indian Community Development and Social Association, founded in the year 1993. It is run by an executive committee and supported by its general members. All executive committee members are volunteers and come from all walks of life for the support and development of India-Cambodia relations through various voluntary cultural, social and community development programs. IAC can be approached by Indian nationals in Cambodia for support and assistance