Phnom Penh: Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Tuesday requested the Indian government to tell an Indian trust, Mahavir Mandir, to abandon its plan to build a near replica of Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple, a spokesman said.
He raised the request during a meeting with outgoing ambassador of India to Cambodia Dinesh K. Patnaik, Xinhua quoted Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry as saying.
“The deputy prime minister said Angkor Wat temple is the national symbol of Cambodia and requested Indian government to “completely stop” the company’s plan to build the replica of Angkor Wat temple,” he said.
In response, Patnaik promised to convey this request to the government of India.
Mahavir Mandir, a Hindu trust based in Bihar, delayed in June its plan to construct a near-replica of the world famous Angkor Wat temple in Bihar after the Cambodian government had sent a protest note to India.
Located in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, Angkor Wat temple is the country’s most popular tourist destination.
According to government figures, the 12th century site attracted nearly 1.24 million foreign tourists in the first seven months of 2015, earning $35 million from ticket sales.
India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.
“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.
Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.
The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.
The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.
The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.
The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.
In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.
Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.
“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.