• 20 May, 2024
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Overview of India – Brazil Bilateral Relations

Srikar srivatsa DAHAGAM
Sat, 17 Jun 2023   |  Reading Time: 4 minutes

Introduction
Recently the President of Brazil, Shri Lula Incaico Da Silva met the honorable PM of India Shri. Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G-7 meet in Japan. In the past 8 years under the leadership of EAM Jaishankar & Sushma Swaraj there has been a face rise between the 2 countries who are also colleagues in the powerful BRICS grouping set up in 2010. Even in the year 2020, the ex-Brazilian President Mr Jair Bolsonaro was the Republic Day Parade chief guest. During the year of 2020, India’s premier space agency ISRO also launched Amazonia-1 satellite which proved to be helpful for Brazil in battling the Amazon rainforest fires that occurred in 2021. MoU’s related to areas like cyber security, bio energy, animal husbandry, health along with conducting fruitful discussions for the fields of defence, space, global supply chains etc.

History: However ,we must note that the relations between India & Brazil have gone through serious rough times in the past which has seen both highs & lows. The relations started on a very friendly note in 1948 when Brazil & India established diplomatic relations. The first major visit of an Indian office bearer to Brazil was by Dr. S.Radhakrishnan in 1954 and then which were followed by sporadic state visits from India to Brazil till 1992, with exception of Smt Indira Gandhi visiting Brazil in 1968 which was a gap of 14 years. With these frequent gaps in the visits of Heads of States it can be considered that India-Brazil relations which can be a natural alliance were never fully developed. In fact, the relations at one point went to a very low point, when Indian Army launched Operation Vijay to liberate Goa from the colonial rule of Portugese in 1961, which was condemened by Brazil and also led to a diplomatic exchange between India & Brazil. The other reason can also be due to Brazil’s image of being very pro American during the cold war era due to political reasons, which led to India which signed the friendship treaty with USSR in 1971 maintain a huge distance with Brazil. However, since 1990’s the bilateral relations between the countries have blossomed, the prime reason for the same can be the LPG policy of economic liberalisation which was a slew of reforms for the next few years by prime ministers namely: Shri PV Narasimha Rao, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee towards the end of nervous 90’s era for national security(Full spectrum).The visits between both the nations heads have increased with total state level visits accounting to 15 by both sides with ties improving phenomenally improving in last 7 years whose instances have been cited in the first paragraph.

Groupings: Now, India & Brazil are also a part of the powerful G-20 grouping, BRICS which has also plans to launch a competitive common currency along with expansion talks in the recent past & both countries are considered to be a strong voice of the global south.The interesting point to note is that Brazil’s despite percieved proximity to USA both geographically & diplomatically recently Brazil & India have had sort of similar opinions on Ukraine War.

The Dragon Factor: China also has a very strong role in ensuring that there is limited interaction between India & Brazil with China having a very strong economic footprint with major investments in startegic industries like mining, energy etc. However, since 2016 the China-Brazil trade as well as economic relations have taken a hit with both nations looking to dominate the geopolitical system of the Latin American continent. Brazillian companies have accused China of dumping Chinese products & the low was when Brazil steered clear of China’s WTO debate in 2016. These are the reasons which can be considered due to which there has been a room for the Asian Lion India’s entry into Brazillian economy & improving trade relations.

Trade Relations: India is one of the biggest market for Brazil with its exports totaling to almost 4.9 billion$ & India’s exports totaling to almost 6.77 Billion$, Brazil’s top export to India was of Crude petroleum, for the new readers, Brazil has about 12.7 billion barrels of oil and is in the top 10 of the world in the ownership of black gold. India also exported about 1.2 billion$ worth of refined petroleum in 2021, which has increased considerably after the Ukraine-Russia war & the resetting of maritime trade routes of which Brazil has also been one of the major importers of refined oil, for which adequate infrastructure exists in India with major players like HPCL,BPCL,IOCL,ONGC in the public sector & Reliance in the private sector. India also exports pesticides & Brazil exports soyabeans, but the interesting fact to note is that despite being a powerhouse in electronics-IT applications, pharma products etc India’s service exports to Brazil is negligible which needs to improve as Brazil seeks to improve-diversify its economy.  India can be a beneficial partner for the same since India has a comparative advantage in this area. India is 5th largest partner of trade with Brazil which is a positive sign. India-Brazil are also looking forward to expand cooperation in defense sector.

Recently India-Brazil have also signed the MERCOSUR-Ind PTA, along with setting up the trade mechanism monitoring system, JDC meetings to name a few important confident steps by both sides for trade.

Steps from GoI : Some policy decisions from Indian side that can be taken is to maybe sign a FTA with Brazil, reduce number of licenses required for Indian companies to trade with Brazil & identify strategic areas of investment in Brazil. Trade concessions.

Conclusion: Both countries have enjoyed warm relations till date & it has potential to expand if smart decisions are taken by policymakers. It will be integration of economies & securing of national security for both in west . Policymakers, powerful persons from both countries should look to reinvent, relook & reinnovate



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