This is the third time that a Brazilian President will be our Chief Guest at the Republic Day. The last time we had a Brasilian President as chief guest was in 2004. 

New Delhi: President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, will be on a state visit to India from January 24-27, and he will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day celebrations. This will be the first high-level visit of the year to India. Bolsonaro will be accompanied by 8 Ministers, 4 members of the Brazilian Parliament, senior officials and a large business delegation.

This is the third time that a Brazilian President will be our Chief Guest at the Republic Day. The last time we had a Brasilian President as chief guest was in 2004. This is the first visit of President Bolsonaro to India after he assumed office January 1, 2019. Prime Minister Modi and he has had occasion to meet twice  – one, on the sidelines of G20 meeting in Osaka in June, and Second, at the BRICS Summit in Brasilia in November 2019, according to the opening statement of Secretary (East) on the Visit of President of Brazil to India.

“India and Brazil have very warm and friendly relations. And as two democracies, we have shared values, we have shared approaches. Our bilateral relations were elevated to the level of a Strategic Partnership in 2006. And as two developing countries we have similar developmental and global aspirations, this has led to a convergence of mutual interest in many areas. The relations are strong not only at the bilateral level, but also at the plurilateral level, we are both members of BRICS, IBSA, and G20, and in multilateral fora also we coordinate, particularly at the United Nations,” the statement said.

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. It has a population of 210 million with USD 1.8 trillion economy, which again is the largest in Latin America. It is a country rich in natural resources, minerals, and oil and gas. It is also a leading producer of ethanol with a very strong track record in the technological field.

“Our bilateral engagements are multi-faceted. They extend from political, economic, defence & security issues, to cooperation in the fields of agriculture, food processing, health and space. We have institutional mechanisms and frameworks for dialogue in many fields; we have, for example, Foreign Office Consultations, Trade Monitoring Mechanism, and we have Joint Working Groups in many areas,” the statement said.

Our economic engagement has been growing. The current trade levels are USD 8.2 billion. India is exporting about  USD 3.8 billion, which includes agrochemicals, synthetic yarns, auto parts, pharmaceuticals, and some petroleum products. Brazil’s exports to India are USD 4.4 billion, and these include crude oil, gold, vegetable oil, bulk minerals and ores.

The total Indian investment in Brazil of Indian companies is about US$ 6 billion and Brazilian investments in India are around US$ 1 billion. But given the complementarities and synergies that exist between our two economies, we believe that the potential is much more. There would be an interaction of the business delegation that is accompanying the President with their Indian counterparts at the India-Brazil Business Forum, which would be a platform where businesses from the two sides can discuss and have a better understanding of opportunities that exist and to work towards business partnerships.

Coming to the energy sector, which is the area in which we have collaboration both oil & gas as well as in the renewable energy side, including in the field of Bio-fuels. If we look at it we have  ‘National Biofuel Policy’  and Brazil also has its own  ‘Renova Bio’ Programme and both of them have embedded in them the possibility of ethanol blending with gasoline. Here also we find that there would be areas of cooperation and we could have an exchange of knowledge as well as technology in this field.

We have ongoing Defence Cooperation as well as Space Cooperation as I mentioned earlier and we are looking at how to strengthen these. And also we would be looking at strengthening our cooperation that exists in Science & technology, in innovations and start-ups.

And even as I am speaking I thought I would inform you that we do have a program which is currently underway. It is the first edition of Maitri, which is an Indo-Brazil Agritech Cross-Incubation Programme. In that we have 5 startups from Brazil, five startups from India and they would visit the other country. They would come here and Indian scientists will go there to see how we can look at more innovative practices in agriculture.

The other areas which will be the focus of discussion; they have been and will continue to be: that is agriculture, food processing and animal husbandry. We do have a Joint Working Group in Agriculture where we look at possible areas of cooperation. Even as we look at Animal Husbandry we have the same genetic heritage. We have Indian breeds like Gir and Kankrej which were exported to Brazil many centuries ago.

Even at the people to people level, there is a broad appreciation of each other. Football, for example, the Brazilian football team is followed very closely by Indian football fans. And in Brazil, there is great interest in Indian culture as well as in our Yoga and Ayurveda. A very big conference – the Third Ayurveda conference –  was held in Brazil which had a participation of 4000 participants, which shows the growing interest there.  We also have an Indian Cultural Centre which was established by ICCR  in Sao Paulo in Brazil, and that was the first cultural centre established in the Latin American region.

Let me now go through the programme of President Bolsonaro. He would arrive on 24 January. On 25 January, he will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan.  He would then visit Raj Ghat.  This would be followed by official talks with PM Modi, and thereafter we will see an exchange of agreements as well as press statements by both the leaders.  Prime Minister would be hosting a lunch for the visiting delegation. We would also have on 25th January the EAM as well as the Vice-President call on President  Bolsonaro. And, President Bolsonaro will meet Hon’ble President Ram Nath Kovind ji, who would be hosting a banquet at Rashtrapati Bhawan. So that is the day of engagement, 25th of January.

On 26 January, President Bolsonaro would be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade and he would, of course, be attending the at-home hosted by the Hon’ble President. The following day, 27 January, will be the India-Brazil Business Forum. I mentioned that earlier and President Bolsonaro will be the Keynote Speaker there. And, that day itself President would be leaving for Agra and from there onwards he would depart from India.

So if you look at it, the visit of President Bolsonaro is an extremely important visit. It will be an opportunity to re-energize our Strategic Partnership and take it forward in a focused manner.  And, we have a very positive and forward looking agenda to building stronger ties with Brazil, the statement added.