View from India: India and Brazil ink new chapter in bilateral trade relations

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil. The MoU was inked on the eve of this year’s Republic Day, celebrated on January 26. Bolsonaro was invited as the chief guest for the landmark event.

PM Modi acknowledged Brazil as a valuable partner in India's economic transformation. A comprehensive action plan has been prepared to further strengthen the strategic partnership.

“Be it investment or legal assistance in criminal matters, these agreements will give new support to our cooperation. Our cooperation in diverse fields such as bio-energy; cattle genomics; health and traditional medicine; cyber ​security; science and technology; oil and gas, and culture will grow rapidly,” said Modi. 

To put things in perspective, 2023 marks the platinum jubilee of diplomatic relations between India and Brazil, the latter being the largest country in Latin America. Automobile, IT and mining are among Brazil’s investments in India. Pharma, energy and agri-business are among India’s investments in Brazil.

History has it that the Gir - or medium-sized cattle of the dairy kind - and Kankreji - the humped cattle - went from India to Brazil. From around 1870 onwards, Kankreji bulls and cows were exported to Brazil, which then gave birth to the Guzerá breed. This was among the breeds from which the American Brahman was later developed. Academic and research institutions in India and Brazil are collaborating their efforts to raise the special livestock.

There’s also a thrust to increase defence industrial cooperation through partnership. In February, a delegation from Brazil will participate in DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow. Both political heads have also discussed research on bio-energy, Ayurveda and advanced computing. “Brazil and India share similar interests. Our partnership, particularly in BRICS [an acronym for the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] and IBSA [India, Brazil, South Africa] is an important aspect of India's foreign policy. Today we have decided that both countries will further strengthen their cooperation on multilateral issues,” Modi said.

The IBSA Dialogue Forum is an international tripartite grouping for promoting international cooperation among these countries. As the accent is on bilateral trade, the India-Brazil ties are expected to see an upswing in the coming years.

Rajpath, New Delhi’s centre-piece boulevard came alive with India’s 71st Republic Day Parade. With many firsts to its credit, the 90-minute celebration became a memorable event. The event telecast live showcased the country’s military prowess. The skies dazzled with Rudra and Dhruv, which are Advanced Light helicopters of the army aviation wing. The ground-to-air security cover event brought to life the Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army. DRDO’s (Defence Research and Development Organization) marching contingent depicted Mission Shakti. This anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) is intended for combating hostile satellites. Start-up India and Jal Jeevan Mission were among the tableaux. A contingent of women bikers from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) performed daredevil stunts. 

Particular mention should be made of Captain Tania Shergill, credited for being the first woman officer to lead an all-men contingent at an Army Day parade, leading as she did the Corps of Signals marching contingent. Incidentally, she comes from a family of army officers and as the fourth generation, she has carried the family legacy forward.

In a departure from the usual, the PM paid homage to martyrs at the National War memorial instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Mann ki Baat, the PM’s monthly radio address to the nation, was also broadcast on January 26. In his first radio address for this year, the PM appealed to people to conserve water. A move in this direction is the 2019 Jal-Shakti Campaign, which is a national initiative towards water restoration and conservation. A large number of lakes and ponds have been built in various parts of the country. Water conservation has evoked wide-scale public participation. A case in point is the historical step wells in the Jalore district in Rajasthan. Over time, they had ended up as storehouses of garbage and dirty water. Under the Jal Shakti Campaign, the people from the Bhadraayun and Thanawala Panchayats cleaned these wells and restored them into their erstwhile purpose of being lifelines.

Meanwhile, Google created a special doodle to commemorate India's Republic Day. The internet giant captured various facets of Indian life, such as heritage and culture, along with biodiversity.

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