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- El Salvador's port authority announced this fee requirement in an official statement dated October 20, indicating that individuals using passports from India or designated African countries would be subject to this charge.
- El Salvador, is the country of Central America.
- It is the smallest and most densely populated of the seven Central American countries.
- Despite having little level land, it traditionally was an agricultural country, heavily dependent upon coffee exports.
- El Salvador is bounded by Honduras to the north and east, by the Pacific Ocean to the south, and by Guatemala to the northwest.
- Its territory is situated wholly on the western side of the isthmus, and it is, therefore, the only Central American country that lacks a Caribbean coast.
- Among the Mesoamerican nations that historically controlled the region are the Lenca (after 600 AD), the Mayans, and then the Cuzcatlecs.
- Despite high rates of poverty and gang-related violent crime, El Salvador has the second-highest level of income equality in Latin America.
- Among 77 countries included in a 2021 study, El Salvador was one of the least complex economies for doing business.
Currency of El Salvador:
El Salvador fully ‘dollarized’ its economy in 2001 to take advantage of the stability that it offers and attract investments.
- get linked to the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve in Washington.
- prevent hyperinflation in the economy
- El Salvador is planning to build an entire city based on the largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
- In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.
India-El Salvador Relationship
- The Embassy of India in Guatemala is concurrently accredited to El Salvador.
- El Salvador opened its Embassy with a resident Ambassador in New Delhi in 2008. El Salvador and India enjoy close and friendly relations.
- Regular Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between the two countries have helped both countries to keep momentum in bilateral relations.
- The last FOC (fourth) was held in New Delhi on 01 May 2023, in which the Indian side was led by Shri Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), and the El Salvadoran side was led by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Adriana Mira.
- Both sides comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including health, trade & investment, tourism, aquaculture, energy, transport and aviation.
- And also discussed areas like infrastructure, culture, consular and development partnerships.
- Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of El Salvador on cooperation in Science, Technology, and Innovation.
- MOU on consultations between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of External Relations of the Republic of El Salvador.
- Agreement between the Government of the Republic of El Salvador and the Government of the Republic of India on the abolition of visa requirements for holders of Diplomatic and Official passports.
- Commercial relations are on the upswing with India exporting goods worth US$ 126.98 million in 2022-23. Pharmaceuticals, textiles (especially cotton yarn and fibers), Chemicals, engineering products, automobiles- two and three-wheelers, motor vehicles/cars, auto components and parts, iron and steel, industrial machinery and parts, electrical machinery and equipment are the top products exported to Honduras.
- El Salvador is close to the US and due to its strategic location; there are huge opportunities for Indian IT companies for nearshoring from where they can serve the U.S. markets.
- Indian automobiles, engineering products, pharmaceuticals, and textiles have a decent market in this country and the scope of expansion is enormous.
- There is one Indian BPO company in the country that has given direct employment to around 400 Salvadorians
- There is a growing awareness of Indian culture in El Salvador.
- To strengthen cultural relations, Mission regularly organizes different cultural programs.
- As a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Embassy in association with the Ministry of Culture of El Salvador organized performances by the ICCR-sponsored Kathak troupe led by Ms Soniya Parchure in May 2022 in San Salvador and Santa Ana.
- Similarly, to mark the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas), the Mission organized Unity Concerts by ICCR-sponsored Indian Music band Purple Fusion in El Salvador cities in the first week of November 2022.
- Earlier various cultural events such as the visit of dance troupes from India, like the Indian Film Festival (February 2022, and August 2022), and Indian Food Festival (September 2021) have been held in El Salvador.
- The Embassy and Foreign Ministry of El Salvador came together and hosted the first-ever Diwali celebration in November 2022 and in March 2023, the Embassy and Salvador Culture Ministry, celebrated the Festival of Holi in the picturesque Cuscatlán Park in San Salvador, in which more than 5000 Salvadorans and Indian community members participated, Both the events brought together the Indian community and Friends of India, fostering cultural exchange and unity.
- Recently, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), India, sponsored 8- an member Indian Classical Odissi Dance Group “Sankalp” led by Ms. Kasturi Pattanaik visited El Salvador in June 2023 and gave dance performances in three cities.
- International Day of Yoga: As part of a series of yoga events to celebrate IDY2023, the Embassy in association with the Ministry of Culture, Government of El Salvador, organized an incredible yoga gathering at the Plaza La Soberania, San Salvador on 30 July 2023, in the presence of Ambassador H.E. Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, and Vice Minister of Culture of El Salvador.
- The yoga event was attended by Salvadoran and Indian yoga enthusiasts and practitioners.
- Indian Community: The number of Indians is around twenty. Some of them are working in BPO, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, and in Missionaries of Charity.
- In November 2022, for the first time, the Embassy and Foreign Ministry of El Salvador organized celebrations of Diwali at the premises of the Foreign Ministry, with the Indian community.
Q. Analyze the geopolitical significance of El Salvador for India, considering its location in Central America and its potential as a gateway to the Latin American market