Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro will on Friday begin a four-day visit to India, primarily as chief guest on Republic Day and also to explore ways to boost trade ties at a time both the large economies are hit by slowdowns.
On his first visit to India after assuming power, President Bolsonaro will be accompanied by seven ministers, top officials and a large business delegation.
“President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro will be paying a state visit to India from January 24-27 at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will be the chief guest at India’'s 71st Republic Day Parade on January 26,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
President Bolsonaro, a former army captain, won a landslide victory in Brazil’s presidential election in October 2018 and took the reins of the country in January last year. “This visit is expected to further enhance and strengthen the multi-faceted ties between India-Brazil,” the ministry said.
The last presidential visit from Brazil was by President Michel Temer in October 2016 on the sidelines of the eighth BRICS summit in Goa. PM Modi visited Brazil in November to attend the XI BRICS Summit.
Brazilian presidents have graced the Republic Day Parade in 1996 and 2004.
On Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind will hold talks with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and will also host a banquet for him. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also call on him.
On January 21, President Bolsonaro will address a group of Indian and Brazilian business leaders at the India-Brazil Business Forum, according to the Ministry of External Affairs or MEA.
India-Brazil ties have been on an upswing in the last few years.
The volume of bilateral trade was USD 8.2 billion in 2018-19. This included USD 3.8 billion worth of Indian exports to Brazil and USD 4.4 million as imports by India. Both the governments feel there is huge potential to enhance the bilateral trade further.
“Both sides will focus on boosting trade and investment during the visit,” said an official.
Major Indian exports to Brazil include agro-chemicals, synthetic yarns, auto components and parts, pharmaceuticals and petroleum products. Brazilian exports to India include crude oil, gold, vegetable oil, sugar and bulk mineral and ores.
Indian investments in Brazil were around USD 6 billion and Brazilian investments in India are estimated at USD 1 billion in 2018.
Brazilian investments in India are mainly in automobiles, IT, mining, energy and biofuels sectors. India has invested in Brazil’'s IT, pharmaceutical, energy, agri-business, mining and engineering sectors.
“Our bilateral relations are based on a common global vision, shared democratic values, and a commitment to foster economic growth of both countries,” the MEA said.
Bilateral ties were elevated to a strategic partnership in 2006, heralding a new phase in India-Brazil relations.
“The relations are strong not only at the bilateral level, but also at plurilateral fora such as BRICS, IBSA, G-20 and in multilateral bodies particularly the UN,” the MEA said.
Both the countries are also strong contenders for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.