Indians in Cambodia

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Indians in Cambodia
Regions with significant populations
Phnom Penh
Khmer · Various Indian Languages · English
Hinduism · Sikhism · Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
People of Indian origin

There is a small community of Indians in Cambodia mainly expatriates and immigrants from India. It is estimated that about one-third reside in the capital, Phnom Penh.[1]


Relations between India and Cambodia goes back to ancient times. Indian traders made contact with south east Asia and vice versa as far back as before the common era. South east Asian civilizations such as the Khmers were speculated by scholars to have traveled as far as the Indus river delta. Modern scholars have proposed that early Khmer arts and buildings showed a north western Indian influence rather than the southern Indian as speculated by earlier scholars.[2] The Khmer language was influence by both Sanskrit and Pali while the writing system was derived from the Pallava script as most of other native south east Asian nations'. [3]

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.

Current Status[edit]

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 Hindu festivals like Diwali and Holi are celebrated by the Indian community. Thanks to satellite television, popular Hindi soap operas are shown daily while a small selection of Indian restaurants hosts weekly showings of the latest Bollywood Hindi films as well as cricket matches. 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.


External links[edit]