There is a small community of Indians in Cambodia mainly expatriates and immigrants from India. It is estimated that there are about 1,200 to 1,500 Indians living in Cambodia, one-third of whom are in the capital, Phnom Penh.
Relations between India and Cambodia goes back to ancient times. India's influence in Cambodia is visible from the Hindu-style temples of Angkor Wat to written Khmer, which is a derivative of Sanskrit and Pali script from South India.
The first Indians in modern times to settle in Cambodia arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. Primarily coming from the northern province of Punjab, they worked as jewellers, moneylenders and traders around Central Market, but they left the country once the Khmer Rouge arrived. The Indians returned to Cambodia when Pol Pot’s regime collapsed.
Today, many Indians in Cambodia are involved in pharmaceuticals, the United Nations and businesses such as restaurants. The growing economy is also attracting more opportunity seekers from India. Unlike other Indian communities in Southeast Asia such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, the Indian population in Phnom Penh is too small to support a Little India quarter, but it remains an intimate and close-knit group that has integrated well into local society.
Indian culture is visible in Cambodia. Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi are celebrated by the Indian community. Thanks to satellite television, popular Indian soap operas are shown daily while a small selection of Indian restaurants hosts weekly showings of the latest Bollywood films as well as cricket matches. Indian film DVDs can be bought throughout the capital, and expatriates can peruse a number of Indian-based websites for the latest news and entertainment.