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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 relationship with Brazil continued to grow over the past decades with various high-level exchanges and got further intensified in 2019 and early 2020 with the back to back VVIP visits. President Jair Bolsonaro congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latter’s re-election in May 2019. PM Modi met 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 the strategic partnership forward. PM Modi attended the XI BRICS 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. At the invitation of PM Modi, President Bolsonaro paid a State Visit to India from 25-27 January 2020. He was the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day Parade on 26 January 2020 and was accompanied by a high-level delegation which included eight Ministers, four Members of Parliament, senior officials of the Brazilian Government and members of business community. Brazil, for the first time in its history, signed 15 MoUs and agreements with a country during a Presidential Visit. With these MoUs and agreements, India and Brazil decided to widen cooperation in the areas of oil and natural gas, bioenergy, trade and investment, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, early childhood, health and medicine, traditional systems of medicine and homeopathy, social security, cyber security, science and technology, geology and mineral resources, animal husbandry and dairying, and culture. The two countries also adopted the Action Plan to Strengthen the Strategic Partnership.

Foreign Minister-level Meetings: 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. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar met Minister Ernesto Araújo on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 26 September 2019.

Previous high-level visits from India: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (July 2014), Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (September 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).

Previous high-level visits from Brazil: President Michel Temer (October 2016),President Dilma Rousseff (March 2012), President Lula (2004, 2007 & 2008), and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1996).

Ministerial visits from India (since 2014): Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry (November 2019); Shri Raj Kumar Singh, MoS (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy (November 2019); Shri Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (October 2019); Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS for Health & Family Welfare (October 2019); Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, MoS (IC) for Culture and Tourism (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).

Ministerial visits from Brazil (since 2014): Mrs. Tereza Cristina, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (January 2020), Mr. Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and Energy (January 2020), 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).

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. In 2019, the total bilateral trade was USD 7.02 billion. Indian exports to Brazil and imports from Brazil stood at USD 4.257 billion and USD 2.763 billion, respectively with India having a trade surplus of US$ 1.494 billion. In 2019, India was Brazil’s 7th largest import source country, and 18th largest export destination.

YearIndian Exports to BrazilIndian Imports from BrazilTotal TradeBalance of Trade (from the Indian perspective)
20162.483.165.64- 0.679
20172.954.667.61- 1.71
20183.663.917.52- 0.246

*Values are in USD billion, source: Brazilian Ministry of Economy

The 3rdMeeting 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 5th Meeting of India-Brazil Trade Monitoring Mechanism (TMM) was held on 24 January 2020 in New Delhi and  deliberated on bilateral trade and investment related issues.

 A plethora of sectors have witnessed 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 plans to invest USD 4 billion in Brazil by 2022), 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. In 2018, the total Indian investment in Brazil was estimated at USD 6 billion and the total Brazilian investment in India was estimated at USD 1 billion.

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. The third International Congress on Ayurveda was held from in March 2018 in Rio de Janeiro and saw participation of more than 4000 delegates, including many from India.

In 2015, the 1stInternational Day of Yoga was celebrated in 12 major cities of Brazil and Correois, Brazil (Brazilian Postal Department) issued a stamp on this occasion. Regular Yoga classes are organised at the Embassy since September 2017. Dr. Erasto Villa-Verde de Cravalho Filho, President of Jnana Mandiram, dedicated to the study and practice of Yoga, attended the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, UP (India) in February 2019, and met PM and EAM. The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated in various cities of Brazil including Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Florianopolis and Curitiba. On 21 June 2019, a mass yoga session was organized in front of the famous National Museum with the iconic Cathedral as a backdrop in Brasilia. 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 various 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 Gandhy (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 2 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 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.

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. The World Hindi Day was celebrated in Brasilia on 17 January 2020. Regular Hindi classes are also organised at the Embassy to teach Hindi to Brazilian people.

On 25 January 2020, the Government of India conferred Padma Shri, the 4th highest civilian award, on two inspirational women from Brazil, Prof Lia Diskin & Ms. Gloria Arieira, for their contribution in the fields of social work, and literature & education respectively.

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.

Training Programmes: About 60 Brazilians have gone to India under ITEC programme for training in communications, management, defence etc. in the last eight 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. Also, four Brazilian diplomats had undergone training at the Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi for the Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD) and Disarmament and Internal Security Fellowship programme.

Indian Community in Brazil: The Indian community in Brazil is estimated to be around 5000 people, with majority of them living in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus. The community comprises primarily of professionals and businessmen, with some scientists/researchers also working in the fields of space, agriculture, physics and biotechnology. There is an Indian Association in Sao Paulo, which organises events to celebrate national days and community festivals.

Useful Resources:

Embassy of India Website: https://eoibrasilia.gov.in/ External website that opens in a new window
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indiainbrazil External website that opens in a new window
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/indiainbrazil External website that opens in a new window
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/indiainbrazil/ External website that opens in a new window
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTAUaQPy8nziEUnCues7bFg External website that opens in a new window

January 2020