7 PM |The final frontier: Bolsonaro’s Republic Day visit should spur strategic bilateral ties and open doors to Latin America|25th January 2020

Context: India-Brazil Relations.

More in news:

  • President Jair Bolsonaro to be the chief guest in Republic Day celebrations of 2020.

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.
  • Historical Relations: One could roughly divide the history of sovereign relations between Brazil and India into two periods: from 1947 until the 1980s, and from the 1990s onward.
  • The first period was dominated by a set of ambivalent forces. On the one hand, the need to effectively challenge an international system hostile to “southern” industrialization brought emphasis to the so-called south-south dialogue. On the other hand, dependency on the “north” for transference of technology and financial assets, did not allowed significant commercial and technological exchanges among southern nations.
  • Perhaps more important, the dominant geopolitical scenario of the cold war threw Brazil and India into opposite camps: Brazil in the U.S. bloc, and India in the Soviet bloc. 
  • The first period of India–Brazil relations was essentially characterized by efforts at joining multilateral organizations, such as the G-77 (The Group of 77 at the United Nations), UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), whereby the two giant nations provided leadership to developing and underdeveloped countries in their common struggle to bring fairness to trade and economic relations with the rich “north.” 
  • From the 1970s onward, when environmental and nuclear issues became prominent in international affairs, Brazil and India worked closely to prevent international interference in their forest and biodiversity assets and to defend their right to pursue their own nuclear and space programs.
  • Their timid steps in bilateral relations included the signing of general framework agreements on commerce (1968), culture (1968), nuclear energy (1968), science and technology (1985), and the prevention of double taxation (1988), with minimal impact on trade. 
  • A new phase of sovereign relations between Brazil and India had begun after 1991, within an international arena freed from the dichotomies of the cold war and marked by the intensification of the process of globalization, which compelled developing countries to adopt more liberal economic postures.
  • The processes of economic liberalization in India and Brazil, which started practically at the same time in 1991, combine policies suited to an increasingly integrated global economy with the mobilization of civil society, calling for good governance and decentralization.
  • 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.
  • Defence:
  • India and Brazil signed an agreement in 2003 for defence cooperation which was ratified by Brazil in 2006.
  • Joint Defence Committee (JDC) meetings are held as an institutionalized mechanism for defence cooperation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • UNSC Reform: An aggressive campaign to democratize the Security Council of the United Nations and persuade world leaders of their legitimate claims to permanent seats prompted Brazil and India in 2004 to constitute, along with two other candidates (Germany and Japan), a core group aiming at reform of the Security Council.
  • “South-South” Cooperation: There are two significant platforms to strengthen south-south cooperation.
  • The first was the creation in 2003 of G-3 (The Group of 3) or IBSA (The India, Brazil, South Africa Dialogue Forum), a forum to promote dialogue between three of the major developing economies (Brazil, India, and South Africa) to enhance trilateral cooperation across three continents.
  • The second was the signing in 2004 of a framework agreement on trade between India and all partners of the Mercosur (Common Market of the South; Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), which sets the principles for the adoption of preferential tariffs among the parties.

Possibilities of strengthening relations during recent visit:

India and Brazil are expected to sign 20 various agreements across defence, energy, agriculture, healthcare and minerals. Among them,the major ones are:

  • Strategic Action Plan: India and Brazil will upgrade their strategic partnership with a strategic action plan.The Action Plan will serve as an umbrella agreement to increase defence cooperation, technology sharing and a logistics agreement.
  • Bilateral investment treaty: The two countries are also expected to sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty which will be the first revised one that India will sign with any country since 2015.
  • Social Security Agreement(SSA): The two countries will also exchange a Social Security Agreement (SSA) first signed in March 2017.It will allow investments in each other’s pension funds to help business processes and encourage the flow of investment.

Conclusion:

India and Brazil are the emerging nations that hold similar principles on democracy, human rights, global governance and liberal strategies. They are partners on the basis of trade relations and have a lot to learn from each other. With their uniting stance on various multilateral and plurilateral forums, the two countries are considered to be important for the creation of a new world order. Both the countries have huge potential to grow bilaterally. However, they require aggressive political will to strengthen their association.Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/the-final-frontier-bolsonaros-republic-day-visit-should-spur-strategic-bilateral-ties-and-open-doors-to-latin-america/

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