Friday, January 28, 2022

India & Paraguay discusses ways to strengthen cooperation in cultural & consular matters

The Third Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Paraguay were held on 1 December 2021 at Asuncion. The Indian delegation was led by Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) and the Paraguayan side was represented byVice Ministers of Paraguay Marcelo Scappiniand and Raul Cano Ricciardi.

Both parties evaluated their bilateral connections in detail, including high-level exchanges, commerce and investment, agriculture, health, and pharmaceuticals. The two sides also addressed ways to improve collaboration in cultural and consular matters, as well as exchanged views on pandemic management.

Paraguay expressed gratitude to India for sending Made in India Covaxin vaccines in a timely manner to boost its vaccination programme. They also praised India’s decision to open a Resident Mission in Asuncion in the near future.

Both sides agreed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a befitting manner. The Paraguayan side also expressed their willingness to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence.

In addition, the two sides discussed regional issues in South Asia and South America. Both parties expressed interest in working closely together at multilateral fora, such as the United Nations.

India-Paraguay Bilateral Relations

India and Paraguay first established diplomatic ties in 1961. India and Paraguay have cordial and amicable relations. In March 2006, the Paraguayan Embassy in India was inaugurated. Paraguay has Honorary Consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai,in addition to its embassy in New Delhi.

India’s exports to Paraguay were valued at USD 161 million, while Paraguay’s exports to India were valued at USD 21 million in the fiscal year 2018-19. Soyabean oil accounts for over 90% of the country’s exports to India. Other significant export items of Paraguay to India are iron and steel, oils and resinoids and aluminum. Iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, cars, and auto parts are among the most common exports from India to Paraguay.

Cultural Relations

Paraguayans have a strong appreciation for Indian arts, culture, and heritage. They have enthusiastically participated in Indian Food Festivals and all editions of the International Yoga Day to date. The International Film Festival of Paraguay has screened Indian films in previous editions. In March 2019, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and his counterpart Hugo Vélazquez released commemorative stamps in Asuncion as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

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