Between the 16th-18th centuries, Brazil and Goa, both out- posts of the Portuguese imperialist outreach, had exchanges, which found reflection in the flora and fauna, food and dress as well as folk traditions of Brazil. The interesting similarities between folk traditions of ‘Boi Bumba’ in the north of Brazil and the Poikam Kudharai’ of South India draw attention to the strong under currents of cultural and popular exchanges that have taken place in the centuries by gone.Both are large developing countries, stable, secular, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, large democracies as well as trillion-dollar economies, hence although the two countries are divided by geography and distance, they share common democratic values and developmental aspirations.
Considering the frequent Bilateral Interactions between India and Brazil in the recent years, India-Brazil bilateral relations are in a state of clearly discernible upswing, the Prestigious Awards, Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for 2006 and Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2010 conferred on President Lula of Brazil confers the shared vision of India and Brazil on an common ideology .
The constructive exchange of VVIPs, Ministerial and official-level visits in recent years clearly define the strengthening of bilateral relationship in various fields and forging of close cooperation and coordination in the multilateral arena, be in IBSA, BRICS, G-4, BASIC, G-20 summits and the recent BRICS Summit in Goa, India 2016 . An evolving bilateral order to name a many important few , the visits from India since vice President S. Radhakrishnan (1954), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1968), Prime Minister Narasimha rao (1992 for earth Summit), President K.R. Narayanan (1998), ,President Pratibha Patil (2008) and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh (June 2012-for Rio+20 summit)., Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of External Affairs (Feb 2008), Shri P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister from India (Nov 2008) ,Shri Jairam Ramesh, Honorable Minister of environment & Forests (to attend the BASIC Ministerial ), Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister for State for Commerce and Industry (September 2010, April 2011), Mr. Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution )and other dignitaries and the honorable visits from Brazil to India since Celso Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil (April, July 2007 and September 2009) and as Defense Minister in February 2012, Minister of Industry and Foreign trade Mr. Miguel Jorge (March and October 2008) and Minister of Defence Nelson Jobin (March 2010),Foreign Minister Mr. Antonio Patriota visited India for IBSA Ministerial and Brazil-India JCM in December 2011 and VVIP visits of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1996),President Lula (2004, 2007 & 2008) ,President Dilma Rousseff in March 2012 to attend the 4th BRICS Summit and bilateral trade Summit and President temer in BrICS Summit on 2016 ,culminated in signing of the important Bilateral Agreements, MOUs , Extradition Treaty, Cooperation in Tourism, Space, S&T, Air Services, Oil and Natural Gas, Audio-Visual Co-production, Academic Exchanges, Infrastructure, Hunger and Poverty, Civil Defense and Humanitarian Assistance, Agriculture and Allied Sectors, Plant Health Protection, Human Settlements, Biotechnology, Technical Cooperation, Education, Metrology and Gender Equity.
On a sufficing visionary notes on the economic and commercial relations between the two countries and its bilateral trade crossing US $ 10 Billion in 2012 mark, states a historical note which includes – India’s imports: US$ 5,577 billion on Crude oil, copper sulfates, soya oil, Raw sugar, denatured alcohol, other minerals of copper and its concentrates, asbestos, valves, motor pumps, airplanes, wheat, precious and semi-precious stones and India’s exports: US$ 5,043 billion on Diesel oil, coke of coal, lignite or peat, equipment’s related to wind energy, engineering and electrical equipment, cotton and polyester yarns, naphtha, pigments, medicines and chemicals. Brazil is the most important trading partner of India in the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region. India and Brazil bilateral trade has increased substantially in the last two decades. However, the most impressive change is taking place now as the trade is becoming more diversified both geographically as well as qualitatively. In 2011 about two third of our bilateral trade of US$ 9.2 billion was oil products, whereas in 2012 this proportion has become less than half in our bilateral trade of US$ 10.6 billion.
India and Brazil have formed a bi- lateral trade Monitoring Mechanism (TMM) for periodic consultations. India signed a framework agreement with Mercosur in June 2003. the India Mercosur PTA entered into force on 1st June 2009 under which 450 items from each side will have duty reductions of 10% to 100%. Efforts are underway to broaden and deepen the India-Mercosur PTA and to link it, under IBSA to SACU as well.
India has also welcomed many Brazilian students under ITEC programme for training in communications, management and defense.
On the Cultural arena, The Brazilian interests in India are vast. Recently, the Brazilian Consulate in Mumbai organised a Brazilian Latin festival in Mumbai under the guidance of our versatile Consul General of Brazil in Mumbai, Ms Rosimar Suzano to portray the Cultural metamorphosis of Brazilian music as a Yogic fervor, performing arts and philosophy. on an extended note, a similar thread was woven too by Ms Suzano and the Ambassador to Brazil in India Mr Nunes on the 194th Anniversary of Brazilian National Day in Mumbai on 7th September 2016 , emphasizing on Sports and its bilateral connections with India during the curtain raiser of the Rio Olympics in Brazil 2016, where the Indian Contingent had a considerably large sports persons. Few of them from Maharashtra were specialty felicitated on the National Day of Brazil in association with Nena records and Productions and Mr Manish Tewari of ITV Networks (India News and News X TV Channels), India.
Nena Records and Productions, India and Brazil encompassed daily large segments in covering the numerous organizations, teaching Yoga all over Brazil in Ramakrishna Mission, ISKCON, Satya Sai Baba, Maharishi Maharshi Yogi and Bhakti Vedanta Foundation along with the wide coverage of sports segments of Brazilian and Indian athletes in Rio Olympics 2016 as special added episodes on Rio Olympics 2016.
Mahatma Gandhi is highly regarded in Brazil and the government and NGOs are trying to circulate the philosophy of non-violence among students, youth and even police. Statues of Mahatma Gandhi have been installed in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Londrina. The Brazilian cultural troupe had given splendid performances in India in 2008 and a large group of Indian artists gave several popular performances in several Brazilian cities in May-June 2011 in association with ICCR ( Indian Council of Cultural Research Ministry of Tourism Government of India )
the airing of the ‘telenovela’ and the popular Indian TV series ‘ Caminho Das Indias ‘(Paths to India) by the influntial O Globo television made a great impact in enhancing the consciousness of India in the Brazilian public mind and greatly contributed to the warmth and friendliness in the common masses of Brazil.
the Indian Association in Sao Paulo along with the Indian community of PIos /NrIs numbering 2000 in Brazil mainly comprising of professionals and businessmen, scientists/researchers in agriculture, physics regularly conduct bilateral events to further the bond between the two countries. A majority of them lives in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus. the Indian Consulate General in Sao Paulo, the industrial and commercial hub of Brazil, was opened in 1996. the Brazilian embassy has been functional in India since 1949 and has Consulate General in Mumbai.
The Recent breakthrough on the 8th BRICS Summit 2016 marks a major step forward to the spirit of the Goa Declaration. the outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labor and employment Ministers held on June 9 last year in Geneva and on September 27-28, 2016 in New Delhi, India and Brazil today initiated the text of the Social Security Agreement in Brasilia. the text establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment of the nationals of both countries and unrestricted payment of pensions even in the case of residence in the other contracting state (benefits export principle).
the SSA between India and Brazil once brought into force by early 2018,after completion of the ratification process in the respective counties will favorably impact the profitability and competitive position of Indian and Brazilian companies with foreign operations in either country by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. the SSA will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries. The Indian delegation was led by K. Nagaraj Naidu; Joint Secretary (Economic Diplomacy) of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Brazilian delegation was led by Mr. Benedito A. Brunca, Secretary (Social Security Policies), Ministry of Finance, Government of Brazil.
After holding wide ranging talks in the BRICS Summit in Goa with Brazilian President Michel Temer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India deeply appreciated Brazil’s support to its actions in combating terror, noting both countries will work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention Against International terrorism (CCIT) by the UN. In the talks, Temer supported New Delhi’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and conveyed to Modi that Brazil will work with other member countries of the elite bloc to facilitate India’s entry into it.
Modi said he has sought greater market access and investment opportunities for Indian products and companies in Brazil and was “thankful” for Temer’s “positive consideration”. Talking about Brazil’s priority to reviving the domestic economy, Modi said India can be a valuable partner in it. He welcomed Brazilian companies to come and invest in India and to forge long-term commercial partnerships. the two leaders also met a group of Ceos of top companies from both countries to explore ways to deepen economic engagement to progress in opening new areas of co- operation on drug regulation, agricultural research and cyber security issues. President temer and PM Modi also agreed to intensify and strengthen their coordination in important international fora and resolved to work closely at the United Nations, the G-20, G-4, WTO, BRICS and IBSA
on the the visit of the Brazilian delegation to Mumbai on Oct 2016 on a mission to explore new vistas for trade, commerce and investment, spearheaded Ms. Rosimar da Silva Suzano, Consul General of Brazil in Mumbai at the International Business round table organized by World trade Center Mumbai, All India Association of Industries, Apex Brasil and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Brazil at the World Trade Center Mumbai, confined that, “Brazil’s trade with India has immense scope for expansion which currently accounts for 1.21% of India’s total trade. the total trade between India and Brazil is at USD 6.69 billion in 2015-16. The market opportunities exist in the areas of food and drinks (coffee, tea, fruits, cocoa, and confectionary products), home and building (woods), machinery and equipment (vehicles and auto parts), mineral products and chemicals. Brazil has recently launched a new infrastructure Program, ‘Crescer’ (meaning ‘grow’) which will focus on concession, privatization and public-private partnerships, Brazil and India should rather look for complementarities and synergies between their respective markets and mind-sets in order to in- crease and upgrade their business potential. For more business to take place there should be more people to people exchanges. I am a strong believer of people-to-people relations to cement long-term and sustainable partnerships as under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, India is undergoing a series of reforms that are in the process of enhancing the competitiveness of the country.
Ms. Lara Gurgel, representing Apex- Brasil, said, “India and Brazil share a special relationship and tremendous opportunities lie between them especially in natural resources besides agriculture, food processing, oil & gas, mining, textile, spinning and with the successful conclusion of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, member countries should work towards the success of BRICS. Both Ms Suzano and Ms Gurgel appreciated the growth at a rate of 7.6 percent which is possible first and foremost by providing concession in freight costs.. they also emphasized on the technology segment which India requires and can be fulfilled through collaborative efforts with Brazil.
Adding further on the bilateral tie ups of India and Brazil, Rosimar Da Silva Suzano, Consul General of Brazil (Mumbai) stated that, “The BRICS, gave powerful impetus to the identification and development of specific bilateral and joint projects in strategic sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, science and technology and paved sustainable and inclusive solutions to the global problems”,
Ms. Suzano while addressing a seminar on ‘BRICS-Challenges and opportunities’ organised jointly by Center for Latin American Studies, Goa University in collaboration with International Centre, Goa, emphasized, “that a stronger BRICS equals a more equitable world order as no country can by itself respond to today’s challenges, by pooling capabilities, resources and ideas over shared concerns BRICS is giving the world its contribution, at the same time ensuring its members a fair stake in the decision making process. She also recalled that 2008 global financial crisis confirmed the realization among the emerging economies that they should have a voice in the decision-making mechanisms put in place at the Bretton Woods Conference in the aftermath of the II World War that no longer met the demands of a globalized world economy. She advocated more reforms in global financial institutions and more investment in infrastructure in BRICS and emerging economies. With the New Development Bank (NDB), BRICS will have funds to finance infrastructure projects at the BRICS countries or in other emerging third world countries”
Describing Brazil as a proactive member of the BRICS, Ms. Suzano said, ‘Brazil saw BRICS as a window of opportunities not to be missed, and went on to recall that since inception, her country saw BRICS as an ideal space for dialogue, and consensus, identification of convergences and expansion of contacts and cooperation in specific sectors amongst its members. She said to handle issues of the global agenda the vision that is BRICS shall be open to constructively cooperate and engage with third countries as well as international and regional organizations. She also lauded the role of initiatives such as cultural exchanges, civil society dialogue and parliamentary meetings as having potential to generate new ideas of global governance and come up with inclusive solutions.
“BRICS offered a forum for deliberation and collective position taking a space to create a positive agenda and search for common ground within the international scene, an arena for intra co-operation in a gamut of subjects and sectors .Being an ardent supporter of multilateralism, she added ,”Brazil believes in the partnerships in different groupings”. the consul general said BRICS should have a collective response towards inter state wars, climate change and natural disaster. She admitted that BRICS has helped Brazil improve its bi- lateral trade to a great extent.
“At a time when the bilateral trade was mere 500 million dollars in 2005, it reached 11.5 billion dollars in 2014, despite the country’s economy being in doldrums,” she added.
to conclude on all the visionary and strong developments on Trade , Business , Economic and Cultural elevations, positive developments and ongoing growth between India and Brazil the visa issues need to be in- formed too to further the Indo Brazilian ties which states that under a bilateral agreement, diplomatic and official passport holders are exempted from visa for a stay of maximum of 90 days. And although there are no direct flights between India and Brazil, convenient connections are however available via Europe (London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam), the US (New York and Chicago) and via Dubai. A Point to be pondered for an easy ‘Air viability’ for the Business and Corporate sectors of both Brazil and India for a smooth direct travel radar.
– Carlyta Mohini (The writer is a leading Indo Brazilian Columnist on International Diplomatic issues and Politics, World Trade /Tourism/Heritage/Music and Global Fusion Vocalist (ICCR) /Songwriter)