Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met Brazil’s President on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit at Brasilia, invited him and he has “accepted the invitation with pleasure”, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The Indian Express reported last week that the government was considering inviting Bolsonaro as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations.
This is the third time a Brazilian President is chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations after Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996 and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2004.
Seen as a far-right firebrand and a political outsider, Bolsonaro was sworn in as the 38th president of Brazil, Latin America’s largest democracy, early this year.
“Both leaders agreed that on this occasion, the two countries can comprehensively enhance our strategic partnership. PM Modi said that he looked forward to discussing matters relating to trade. He also outlined areas for potential investment from Brazil , including in areas of agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies and biofuels,” the MEA statement said on Thursday.
“The President of Brazil expressed his readiness and informed PM that a large business delegation will accompany him to India. They also discussed other areas of cooperation including space and defence sectors. PM welcomed the decision of President to grant visa free travel to Indian citizens,” it said.
This is the Prime Minister’s second visit to Brazil and his first visit after the new administration led by Bolsonaro assumed office on January 1. Modi met Bolsonaro in Osaka earlier this year on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the Indian government’s perspective. New Delhi has been weaving strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guest for the Republic Day. The choice every year is dictated by a number of reasons — strategic and diplomatic, business interest and geopolitics.
This year, after the invitation to US President Donald Trump did not work out, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was invited. Ten leaders from ASEAN countries were the chief guests in 2018.
Officials said India and Brazil share a very close and multifaceted relationship at the bilateral level as well as in plurilateral fora such as BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4, IBSA and International Solar Alliance, Biofuture Platform and in the larger multilateral bodies such as the UN, WTO, UNESCO and WIPO.