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Explained: Ahead of Bolsonaro’s visit on Republic Day, a look at India-Brazil ties

Modern-day diplomatic ties between India and Brazil were established in 1948, soon after India got independence in 1947.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 20, 2020 9:49:51 am
Explained: Ahead of Bolsonaro's visit on Republic Day, a look at India-Brazil ties President Jair Bolsonaro with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their bilateral meeting on November 13, 2019. (Alan Santos/Brazil’s Presidential Press Office via AP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is visiting India as Chief Guest at the 71st Republic Day celebrations on January 26 this year, the third by a head of state from that country.

Former Presidents of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had visited in 1996 and 2004, respectively.

Connected since both the countries were under the colonial rule, India and Brazil today share important bilateral relations. Both are members of plurinational forums like BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4, IBSA, International Solar Alliance, and Biofuture Platform.

History of Indo-Brazil relations

Under Portuguese colonial rule, Brazil and Goa used to exchanged goods. During this period, coconut and mango crops arrived in Brazil from India for the first time, while Brazil sent cashew here. Apart from this, Indian cattle breeds were also exported to Brazil, which has now formed over 80% of the country’s livestock; known as ‘Nelore’ locally (after Nellore in Andhra Pradesh). Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822.

Modern-day diplomatic ties between India and Brazil were established in 1948, soon after India got independence in 1947.

In 1961, Brazil opposed India’s ‘Operation Vijay’ that liberated Goa from Portuguese rule, and Indo-Brazil relations did not flourish for many decades.

In the 1990s, both India and Brazil undertook economic reforms, following which, the trade relations between the two countries got expanded. Diplomatic visits subsequently picked up pace in the last two decades.

Bilateral visits between the two countries:

From India to Brazil:

# Prime Minister Narendra Modi — 2014, 2019

# Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — 2006, 2010 and 2012

# President Pratibha Patil — 2008

# President KR Narayanan — 1998

# Prime Minister Narasimha Rao — 1992

# Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — 1968

# Vice President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan —1954

From Brazil to India:

# President Michel Temer — 2016

#President Dilma Rousseff — March 2012

#President Lula da Silva —2004, 2007, and 2008

# President Fernando Henrique Cardoso — 1996

Trade relations

According to the website of the Indian Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil’s overall trade fell in 2015 after the global drop in commodity prices and the economic recession locally. Bilateral trade between India and Brazil reduced from $7.9 billion in 2015 to $5.64 billion in 2016.

In two years, as Brazil’s economy recovered to an extent, the figure rose to $7.57 billion in 2018. That year, the exports and imports between India and Brazil stood at $3.66 Billion and $3.91 billion respectively with India having a trade deficit of $0.246 Billion, according to the website. In the same year, India was the 11th biggest exporter to Brazil and the 10th biggest importer from the country.

Sectors-wise, Brazilian companies have invested in automobiles, IT, mining, energy, biofuels and footwear in India, and Indian companies have invested in IT, pharmaceuticals, energy, agri-business, mining, engineering, and automobiles. Total Indian investment in Brazil is estimated at $8 billion.

Cultural ties

Statues of Mahatma Gandhi have been installed in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Londrina.

A commemorative postal stamp of Gandhi was released by the Brazilian Postal Department on Gandhi Jayanti in 2018. Earlier in 2015, another stamp was issued commemorating “100 years of Indian Cinema”.

According to the Embassy, the Indian community in Brazil consists of around 4,700 people, with most of them living in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus.

Don’t miss from Explained: Why tribes in Brazil are protesting against President Jair Bolsonaro

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