The government of India has advised its Indian trust, Mahavir Mandir, to make change to its original plan to build a near replica of Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple, Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said Tuesday.
New Indian ambassador to Cambodia Naveen Srivastava made the remarks while paying a courtesy call on Cambodian deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hor Namhong, he said.
“The ambassador told the deputy prime minister that the government of India had advised the private company to change the style and structure (in the original blueprint) in order to avoid copying from the Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple,” the spokesman told reporters after the meeting.
He said the Indian side has planned to invite Cambodia to check the revised blueprint when it is completed.
The ambassador assured that the Indian government would not allow such a replica plan to happen because it could affect niceties between the two countries, according to the spokesman.
The ambassador’s remarks came after Hor Namhong renewed his call on the Mahavir Mandir, a Hindu trust based in the eastern Indian state of Bikar, to completely stop the plan to construct the replica of Angkor Wat temple.
Hor Namhong said Angkor Wat temple is the “heart and soul of the Cambodian people.”
Mahavir Mandir delayed in June its plan to construct a near- replica of the world famous Angkor Wat temple in Bihar in India after Cambodia’s protest.
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 1.4 million foreign tourists in the first eight months of 2015, earning 39.8 million U.S. dollars from ticket sales.