Smt. Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs From January 15 to January 17, Meenakashi Lekhi traveled to El Salvador and Guatemala.
MOS met with the acting president of Guatemala, H. E. Mr. Guillermo Castillo Reyes, minister of foreign affairs, h.e. mr. Mario Bucaro, and ministers of culture, Felipe Aguilar and Health, Francisco José Coma Martn and Alberto Pimentel Mata, respectively, during her visit.
MOS discussed cooperation in the areas of science and technology, women’s empowerment, and capacity building within Guatemala during their meeting with the acting president. Both parties discussed their entire bilateral relationship during their meeting with the minister of foreign affairs before deciding to hold their next Foreign Office consultations in New Delhi on a mutually convenient date. For the donation of ten pickup trucks by the Indian government to the Guatemalan government, MOS gave the foreign minister a symbolic key. Both Ministers opened the Mahatma Gandhi bust at the Foreign Ministry’s premises to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Growing cultural ties and the visit to India by the Guatemalan cultural troupe Paabank were discussed by Mr. Aguilar, the minister of MOS and culture. The pick-up trucks were donated by the Indian government to the Ministry of Culture, and the culture minister thanked them. The Minister of MoS and Energy and Mines talked about potential areas of cooperation, particularly in the fields of solar energy, the International Solar Alliance, and mining-related technical cooperation. Both sides discussed expanding bilateral healthcare cooperation, particularly in areas of holistic healthcare and Ayurveda, as well as India’s donation of essential medications, during the meeting with the minister of health.
In front of the Vice Minister of Economy, MOS officially opened the warehouse for Indian businesses in Technopark, Escuintla, on January 15, 2023. This warehouse will help cut down on delivery times and increase Indian exports to Central America. MOS participated in an antiguan yoga festival and helped start the Indian Film Festival. Top Guatemalan business leaders attended a business dinner hosted by the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations (CACIF) on January 16. MOS took part in the event. On January 16, MOS spoke at the University del Valle (UVG) in Guatemala City about “50 Years of India-Guayana Relations.” Around 80 families of Indian descent who immigrated from Belize to Guatemala in the middle of the nineteenth century were essentially inaugurated by MOS at the Mahatma Gandhi bust in Livingstone, an eastern Guatemalan city. At the invitation of the Guatemalan government, MOS traveled to Tikal, Peten, a world heritage site, on January 17 and took part in an effort to plant trees. During her visit, MoS also interacted with Guatemala’s Indian Community members.
H. E. Dr. Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, was visited by MOS, who also met with Mr. J. Miguel Kattan, secretary of commerce and investment, Mariemm Pleitez, minister of culture, and Ms. Alexandra Hill Tinoco, foreign affairs minister.
The MOS discussed ways to improve bilateral ties, particularly India’s development cooperation with El Salvador, enhancing bilateral economic relations, and fostering multilateral cooperation, including at the UN, during their meeting with the President. El Salvador was also extended an invitation by MOS to join the CDRI (Council for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure). Both Ministers discussed their entire bilateral relationship during their meeting with Minister Hill before deciding that the next Foreign Office Consultations would take place in New Delhi on a mutually convenient date. Minister Hill praised India for providing the nations with COVID vaccine and necessary medications during the pandemic’s difficult times. The two nations’ trade relations were improved, and opportunities for Indian businesses to invest in El Salvador were discussed by Secretary Kattan and MOS. MOS and Minister Pleitez talked about the development of cultural ties during their meeting. Both Ministers established the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Indian Film Festival in the University to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence.
At the Dr. Jose Matias Delgado University in San Salvador, MOS gave a presentation on “75 Years of India’s Growth Story.” At the renowned Cuscatlán Park in the nation’s capital, MOS took part in yoga events and tree planting drives. During her stay in El Salvador, MOS also spoke with business executives and members of the Indian Community.
The importance India places on bilateral ties with both Guatemala and El Salvador is evident from the MOS’s visit there. The visit is anticipated to strengthen public relations and give bilateral cooperation more momentum.