India - Brazil Relations
India and Brazil share a very close and multifaceted relationship at bilateral level as well as in plurilateral fora such as BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4, IBSA, International Solar Alliance, Biofuture Platform and in the larger multilateral bodies such as the UN, WTO, UNESCO and WIPO. The bilateral strategic partnership, which has opened a new phase for India-Brazil relations in 2006, is based on a common global vision, shared democratic values, and a commitment to foster economic growth with social inclusion for the welfare of the people of both countries.
Political Relations: India’s strategic partnership with Brazil continued to intensify in 2019. President Bolsonaro congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latter’s re-election in May 2019. PM met his counterpart President Bolsonaro on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on 29 June 2019. Key issues of bilateral importance were discussed during the meetings, opening up opportunities on both sides to take this strategic partnership forward. PM Modi attended the BRICS XI Summit in Brasilia on 13-14 November 2019 and held a bilateral meeting with President Bolsonaro on the sidelines of the Summit on 13 November 2019. President Bolsonaro accepted PM Modi’s invitation to visit India and to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day 2020. Both leaders agreed that during President Bolsonaro’s State visit to India in January 2020, the two countries can comprehensively enhance the strategic partnership. Previously, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Michel Temer met at the VIII BRICS Summit which took place on 15-16 October 2016 in Goa, India. On 17 October 2016, PM and President Temer held delegation-level deliberations to further strengthen the strategic partnership. Three MOUs were signed during the bilateral visit of President Temer, viz:
(i) MOU between ICAR and Brazilian Agriculture Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) for Cooperation in the fields of Genetic Resources, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Natural Resources and Fisheries;
(ii) MOU between Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries (DADF) and Brazilian Agriculture Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) on cooperation in the Fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies;
(iii) MOU between Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) for cooperation in the field of pharmaceutical production regulation.
An Agreement between the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Brazilian Association of Technical Norms (ABNT) for Cooperation in Mutual Recognition was also signed on 24 October 2016. Both the sides agreed to negotiate an agreement on Investment Cooperation and Facilitation that will act as a catalyst to boost trade and economic ties. The agreement is now in the final stage of approval. Other areas of cooperation discussed during the bilateral meeting were UNSC reforms, IBSA, bilateral trade, agriculture, food processing, energy, science and technology, pharmaceuticals, space, nuclear energy, climate change, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity.
The Third Meeting of the Joint Administrative Committee (JAC) on the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was held on 29 September 2016 in Brasilia. Exchange of the first list of 484 tariff lines took place in September 2017 as a first step towards widening the trade basket from 450 items for each side to 2500 lines each. The fifth meeting of the Brazil-India Trade Monitoring Mechanism (TMM) is scheduled to take place in January 2020 in Brasilia.
The Seventh India-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries was held in November 2015 in New Delhi. This mechanism discusses the entire gamut of the bilateral relationship. The second India-Brazil Joint Commission on S&T was held in May 2018. An MoU on Biotechnology was signed in May 2018. On the sidelines of BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting held in Rio de Janeiro on 25 July 2019, Gen V.K. Singh (Retd.), MoS Road Transport and Highways met Foreign Minister of Brazil Ernesto Araujo and had bilateral discussions.
Important Bilateral Visits: Regular high level bilateral visits have provided a sustained impetus to the growing relationship between India and Brazil. At the invitation of Prime Minister, President Michel Temer visited Goa in October 2016 to attend the VIII BRICS Summit (15-16 October) and paid an official visit on 17 October 2016. He was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. José Serra, Minister of Agriculture Mr. Blairo Maggi, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services Mr. Marcos Pereira, and large official and business delegations.
Previous visits from the Indian side were: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (July 2014), Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (2006, April 2010 and June 2012), President Smt. Pratibha Patil (2008), President Shri K. R. Narayanan (1998), Prime Minister Shri Narasimha Rao (1992), Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi (1968) and Vice President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1954). Visits from the Brazilian side were: President Dilma Rousseff (March 2012), President Lula (2004, 2007 & 2008), and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1996).
Ministerial visits from India include: Shri. Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry (November 2019); Shri. Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of Power (IC) and New and Renewable Energy (IC) (November 2019); Shri. Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (October 2019); Shri. Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Culture (IC) and Tourism (IC) (October 2019); Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology (September 2019), Shri Prakash Javadekar, Environment Minister (August 2019), Gen (Dr.) V. K. Singh (Retd.), MoS Road Transport and Highways (July 2019), Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilizers (April 2017); Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Consumer Affair, Food and Public Distribution (August, 2016); Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping (November, 2015); Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan (March 2015); Minister of Agriculture, Shri Radha Mohan Singh (March 2015); Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, MOS for Commerce and Industry (July 2014); Shri Salman Khursheed, Minister of External Affairs (October 2013); Shri Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (February 2013); Shri Beni Prasad Verma, Steel Minister (February 2013); Smt Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of state for Environment and Forests (June 2012); Shri Anand Sharma, Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister (June 2012); Shri Sharad Pawar, Agriculture Minister (September 2010); Shri Jairam Ramesh, Environment Minister (July 2010); Smt. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs (May 2010); Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs (August-September 2009); and Shri P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister (November 2008).
The visits from Brazil include: Mr. Fernando Coelho Filho, Minister of Mines and Energy (November, 2016); Mr. Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture (September 2016); Ambassador Mauro Vieira, Minister of External Relations (November 2015); Ms. Katia Abreu, Minister of Agriculture (November 2015); Minister of External Relations Mr. Antonio Patriota (March and December 2011); Minister of Defence Nelson Jobin (March 2010); Mr. Miguel Jorge, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade (March and October 2008); Jose Temporao, Minister of Health (July 2008); Mr. Celso Amorim as Foreign Minister (April and July 2007, September 2009); Mr. Celso Amorim as Defence Minister (February 2012).
Commercial Relations: Brazil is one of the most important trading partners of India in the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region. India-Brazil bilateral trade has increased substantially in the last two decades. However, the global drop in commodity prices and the economic recession in Brazil started in 2015 affected Brazil’s overall trade. Consequently, the negative impact was felt in bilateral trade as well when it came down to USD 7.9 billion and USD 5.64 billion in years 2015 and 2016 respectively. However, with slight recovery in Brazilian economy in year 2018, the bilateral trade between India and Brazil rose to USD 7.57 billion. Indian exports to Brazil and imports from Brazil stood at US$ 3.66 billion and US$ 3.91 billion respectively with India having a trade deficit of USD 0.246 billion. In 2018, India was the 11th biggest exporter to Brazil and 10th biggest importer from Brazil.
A plethora of sectors have seen investments between India and Brazil. While the Brazilian companies have invested in automobiles, IT, mining, energy, biofuels, footwear sectors in India, the Indian companies have invested in such sectors as IT, Pharmaceutical, Energy, agri-business, mining, engineering and automobiles. On the investment front, there were robust Indian investments in Brazil. Sterlite Group has won a power transmission line project worth 800 million (Sterlite group has invested USD 2 billion in Brazil), UPL has invested USD 150 million in their new plants in Sao Paulo and they are keen to develop the pulses segment: chickpeas, lentils and special beans. The total Indian investment in Brazil is estimated at USD 8 billion.
Defence:India and Brazil signed an agreement in 2003 for defence cooperation which was ratified by Brazil in 2006. The agreement calls for cooperation in defence related matters, especially in the field of Research and Development, acquisition and logistics support, military training and exercises between the two countries. Subsequently, Defence Wing was established in the Embassy of India, Brasilia on 24 December 2007 and Brazil opened its Defence Wing in the Embassy of Brazil, New Delhi on 14 April 2009. Joint Defence Committee (JDC) meetings are held as an institutionalized mechanism for defence cooperation. Six JDC meetings have taken place so far between the two sides. The 6th JDC meeting was held in February 2019 in Brasilia. Both countries have expanded the areas of engagement in defence sector over the past few years.
Cultural Relations: In Brazil, there is enormous interest in India’s culture, religion, performing arts and philosophy. The first forms of Indian Culture to reach Brazil were related to spirituality, philosophy and religion. Folkloric identities and celebrations from India could relate very much to the jolly and colourful nature of the festivities such as the typical dances and parades of north and northeast of Brazil. The first classical Indian art form to come to Brazil was Bharatanatyam; Odissi, Kathak and Kuchipudi followed. There are numerous organizations teaching Yoga all over Brazil. Ramakrishna Mission, ISKCON, Satya Sai Baba, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bhakti Vedanta Foundation and other spiritual gurus and organizations have chapters in Brazil.
Brazil has a strong community of Yoga and Ayurveda practitioners. The Brazilian Association of Ayurveda (ABRA) is a non-profit association with offices in 9 states of Brazil and has members all over Brazil. An International Congress on Ayurveda was organized in the State of Goias in Brazil from 12-14 November 2013. The event was co-sponsored by Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and State government of Goias. The third International Congress on Ayurveda was held from 12 to 15 March, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro. The conference saw participation of more than 4000 delegates, including many from India.
The 1stInternational Day of Yoga, 2015 was celebrated in 12 major cities of Brazil. On 21 June 2015, President Dilma Rousseff congratulated Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on twitter and PM Modi thanked the Brazilian President for her greetings. Correois, Brazil (Brazilian Postal Department) issued a stamp on this occasion.
The Embassy has been conducting Yoga classes at its chancery complex thrice a week since January 2016 which has been increased to four times per week since September 2017 due to their popularity among Brazilians. These classes have attracted Yoga practitioners from all walks of life including the diplomatic community in Brasilia. The average number of Yoga practitioners per class varies between 60-80. Now, with the arrival of Yoga-cum-Teacher of Indian Culture number of yoga classes in a week has been increased to eight. Regular shows of Indian cinema organized by the Embassy have been received well in Brazil. A month long festival of Indian cinema was organised in Rio de Janeiro on 23 April 2018. Dr. Erasto Villa-Verde de Cravalho Filho, President of Jnana Mandiram, dedicated to the study and practice of Yoga, attended the Kumbh Mela in Priyagraj, UP (India) on 21-23 February 2019. During the Kumbh Mela, he met with PM Narendra Modi and EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj, apart from diving into the sacred Triveni Sangam. He described his experience of meeting our PM and EAM as a great honour, and diving into the Ganges, an unforgettable experience which not only refreshes the body but also the mind and the soul. ‘Chá com Letras’, a regular event focusing on readings of Brazilian poetry inviting Brazilian poets to the Embassy, has received great appreciation in the literary circles of Brasilia. Indian cinema shows organized by the Embassy have been received well in Brazil.
The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated with vigour and enthusiasm in different cities of Brazil viz. Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Curtiba. In the state of Sao Paulo, events were organized in the cities of Piracaiba and Atabaia to commemorate the International Day of Yoga. On 21 June 2019, a mass yoga demonstration was organized in front of the famous National Museum with the iconic Cathedral as a backdrop in Brasilia. The location is on the famous Eixo Monumental’ which has all the Ministries, Parliament and Presidential Palace. The event was attended by dignitaries including Ms Erika Kokay who is a Federal Deputy (member of the lower house of the Parliament) and Ms Vanessa Mendonca, Secretary of State for Tourism of the Federal District. Diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and yoga enthusiasts from all walks of life participated in the event. Around 500 people attended the event at Brasilia. Compared to last year, participation in 2019 was much higher. Yoga teachers in Brazil and winners of the online Yoga Quiz conducted by the mission were felicitated at the event. Later in the evening, a Special Solemn Session was organized in the Plenary hall of the Chambers of Deputies (Lower House of the Parliament) with guest speakers observing the importance of Yoga in the daily lives. Over 5000 people participated in all the events organised across Brazil.
Mahatma Gandhi is highly regarded in Brazil and the government and NGOs are trying to inculcate the philosophy of non-violence among students, youth and police. Statues of Mahatma Gandhi have been installed in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Londrina. An organization called Filhos de Gandhi (Sons of Gandhi) is very popular in Salvador, Brazil and takes out street processions wearing Gandhian attire every year. A commemorative postal stamp was released by Correois, Brazil (Brazilian Postal Department) on 2nd October 2018. As part of celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu150), various activities were organised in 2019 in cities of Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. To give a befitting end to the year-long celebrations of Bapu150, the Embassy, in association with the Government of the Federal District, installed a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the prestigious City Park in Brasilia on 9 January 2020.
India cinema is also popular among Brazilian people. Indian Film weeks organized by the Embassy and Consulate have received a good response. Brazilian Post issued a commemorative stamp in May 2014 on “100 years of Indian Cinema”. Caminhos das India (Paths of India), a TV serial inspired from Indian society, is extremely popular in Brazil and was re-telecast on the popular Brazilian TV channel Globo. A month long festival of Indian cinema is being organized in Rio de Janeiro from 23 April 2018.
An 8-member troupe led by Padma Bhushan Dr. L. Subramaniam gave spellbinding performances at prestigious venues in Brasilia and Sao Paulo on 3-4 December 2016.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living Foundation, visited various cities of Brazil from 14-17 December 2016, during which he held discussions with local authorities, conducted meditation sessions and gave discourses. He met President Temer on 14 December in Brasilia.
Under Ministry of External Affairs’ initiative to promote Indian states, a cultural troupe from Rajasthan, comprising of a Kalbelia dance group, five artisans and a master chef, visited Brazil from 7-12 April 2017. While dance group’s performances and the products of the five artisans were highly appreciated, the master chef offered select Rajasthani cuisine to specially invited guests. Local media gave wide publicity to various aspects of Rajasthan state.
A ten-day long Festival of India was organized in Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Embassy of India in Brazil from 31 August to 9 September 2017, to celebrate the completion of 70 years of India’s independence. The Festival featured an exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, enthralling performances of Carnatic music by renowned Indian musicians, scintillating performances of Kathak and celebration of Indian literature, with renowned Indian poets sharing gems of Indian literature with Brazilian audience. All these events were attended by Brazilian government officials, Ambassadors, media personnel, culture lovers and friends of India.
On 30 November 2017, the Embassy organized a cultural evening showcasing elements of cuisine, culture, architecture and tourism of the Indian state of Goa. On 18 December 2017, in continuation of its efforts at promoting the diverse cultures of Indian states in Brazil, the Embassy organized a cultural evening showcasing elements of cuisine, culture, architecture and tourism of the Indian states of Punjab and Bihar. To further these efforts and to mark the 70 years of India-Brazil diplomatic relations, the Embassy organized a cultural evening on 5 February 2018, celebrating the Indian state of Karnataka. The event was marked by the launch of the book “Uma Arvore em Flor”, Portuguese version of the book “A Flowering Tree and Other Oral Tales from India” written by celebrated Indian author A. K. Ramanujan. The book is a collection of 77 famous folktales from Karnataka. On 6 February 2018, the Embassy organized an evening of Carnatic music presented by renowned violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam and celebrated singer Mrs. Kavita Krishnamurti.
On 20 February 2019, Embassy organised a state promotion event to showcase trade and investment opportunities, diverse cultures of Nagaland and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji was celebrated in Sao Paulo and Brasilia on 17 and 22 November 2019 respectively. The Constitution Day and Campaign on Citizens’ Duties was celebrated in Brasilia and Sao Paulo on 26 November 2019.
Globo Television, Brazil’s leading media group produced and aired a news special in 2019 titled “The Journey of Life: Ganges River”. The documentary focuses on places that have played an important role on the development of human civilization and to show both the country that preserves its beautiful traditions and the technological advancements that boosts the economy.
ITEC Programme: About 55 Brazilians have gone to India under ITEC programme for training in communications, management, defence etc. in the last seven years. ITEC courses continue to gain popularity amongst Brazilians, and a number of students have enrolled for the current session. On 5 December 2019, the Embassy celebrated the ITEC DAY 2019. Federal Deputy Mr. Stefano Aguiar from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais was the Chief Guest for the event.
Indian Community in Brazil: The Indian community of PIOs/NRIs in Brazil is small, numbering around 4700 people, with a majority of them living in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus. The community mainly comprises professionals, businessmen and some scientists/researchers in space, agriculture, physics and biotechnology. There is an Indian Association in Sao Paulo.