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Jaishankar speaks with Cambodian Foreign Minister, discusses Myanmar and ASEAN cooperation

File photo of Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn (Photo: IANS)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn on Monday and said that India will work closely with the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Cambodia is the current chair of the ten-member ASEAN bloc.

The two also discussed the current situation in Myanmar, which has been deteriorating steadily after the February 1 coup by the military.

"Spoke to DPM and FM Prak Sokhonn of Cambodia. Discussed India ASEAN relations, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, and the situation in Myanmar. Will work closely with Cambodia in its capacity as ASEAN Chair," Jaishankar tweeted.

Under its Act East policy, India has been improving its relations with ASEAN nations in all spheres–ranging from trade to building defence cooperation. India has also been training the naval and military forces of several ASEAN countries in a bid to balance out China's influence in the dragon's backyard.

India is also looking at bringing about socio-economic development in the ASEAN region with its Quick Impact Projects (QIP). These had been agreed to by both Jaishankar and Prak Sokhonn at the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) online conference in July last year.

Jaishankar's conversation with Prak Sokhonn is important because Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had visited Myanmar on January 7. He had expressed his worry about the situation in Myanmar saying that the country is on the brink of a civil war. ASEAN has been trying to bring Myanmar back into the mainstream by talking to the generals and reaching a consensus without making much headway.