Pharmaceuticals is among the top exports from India to El Salvador, where local population has almost similar disease profile as Indians and has made a huge impact in making healthcare more affordable in his country, says Ariel Andrade Galindo, El Salvador’s Ambassador to India, in conversation with Vivek Ratnakar of Elets News Network (ENN).
The relationship between India and El Salvador is much deeper than what meets the eye, says Ariel Andrade Galindo, El Salvador’s Ambassador to India. “In fact, India played a crucial role in ensuring our freedom from colonial Spain. Indigo was the main agricultural produce of El Salvador during the colonial period but the rise of India as the world’s largest producer of indigo made production of indigo economically unfeasible as we could not produce enough indigo to pay taxes to the colonial masters that gave a push to our Independence movement.”
The Ambassador, who arrived in India this summer to join the Embassy of El Salvador in New Delhi, remembers one more connect with India from his childhood days. He remembers an Indian elephant, named Manjula, which was the main attraction at the Parque Zoologico Nacional de San Salvador—the national zoo in San Salvador—where he would often go as a child. The elephant was purchased by El Salvador from India in 1955 and “it was probably the first elephant to have arrived in South America”.
Reports suggest that upon the death of Manjula in January 2011, her body was kept for night for velacion, a benediction ceremony in El Salvador in which friends and relatives gather around the deceased and sing. She became the first animal to receive the honour of her own velacion. Now a statue stands in her memory next to the zoo.
This story bears the testimony of the impact softpower can have in opening a vast number of possibilities in warming up bilateral ties with countries half way across the world--making distances inconsequential.
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December 2018 eIndia