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INDIA - BRAZIL Relations

In the last decade, under the leadership of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the India-Brazil relationship has developed into a strategic partnership, encompassing all critical spheres of interaction at all three bilateral levels, including IBSA, BRICS, BSIC, G20, and G4, as well as the larger multi-rated arenas of the UN, WTO, UNESCO, and WIPO. President Dilma Rousseff's first visit to India, in March 2012, reaffirmed the relationship's commitment and content.

She met with then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh one-on-one during her visit to discuss bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues such as trade and commerce, science and technology, cultural exchange, UNSC reforms, terrorism, the World Trade Organization, and climate change.

Historical Background

India and Brazil share a long history that dates all the way back to Asian migration to South America, which influenced the evolution of America's indigenous peoples. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Brazil and Goa, both outposts of the Portuguese imperialist outreach, had bilateral exchanges with food, as reflected in the flora and fauna, food and dress, as well as folk traditions of Brazil.

The striking parallels between the complete folk tradition of BoiBumba in northern Brazil and the PoikamKudharai in south India, for example, demonstrate the strong undercurrents of cultural and popular exchanges that have occurred over the centuries.

Kelly's novella 'caminho das Indias' (Paths to India) was televised in Brazil, significantly increasing public awareness of India. The majority of Brazilian cattle are of Indian ancestry, a lesser-known aspect of our bilateral relationship.

The 'Ongole' strain from Andhra Pradesh was used to develop the zebu variety known as 'Nellore' in Brazil. Brazil continues to import fresh embryos from India in order to rejuvenate the breed of cattle.

On May 3, 1948, India established its diplomatic mission in Rio de Janeiro. On August 1, 1971, it relocated to Brasilia.

Important Bilateral Visits

From India

From Brazil

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vice President (1954)

Mr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President (1996)

Ms. Indira Gandhi, PM (1968)

Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President (2004, 2007 and 2008)

Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, PM (1992)

Ms. Dilma Rousseff, President (2012)

Dr. K.R. Narayan, President (1998)

Mr. Michel Temer, President (BRICS) (2016)

Dr. Manmohan Singh, PM (2006, 2010, 2012)

President Bolsonaro (State Visit) 24-27 January 2020.

Ms. Pratibha Patil, President (2008)

Mr. Narendra Modi, PM (BRICS) (2014 and 2019)

Recent Visits

Back-to-back VVIP visits in 2019 and early 2020 bolstered India's relationship with Brazil, which has grown stronger over the last decade as a result of numerous high-level exchanges. PM Modi met President Bolsonaro on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29, 2019, and again on the sidelines of the XI BRICS Summit in Brasilia on November 13, 2019.

On the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, President Bolsonaro paid a state visit to India from January 25 to 27, 2020. On January 26, 2020, he was the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day Parade, which he attended with a high-level delegation that included eight ministers, four members of Parliament, senior government officials, and business leaders.

Action Plan: An Action Plan to Strengthen the India-Brazil Strategic Partnership was adopted during the visit, outlining a strategy for revitalising ongoing engagements in a focused manner.

In a variety of sectors, including investment, assistance in criminal matters, cyber security, oil and gas, bio-energy, science and technology, culture, animal husbandry, health, and traditional medicines, fifteen memorandums of understanding/agreements were signed. Additional areas of cooperation were also discussed, including trade and investment, defence, space, and cooperation on global issues of mutual interest.

The leaders agreed that improving cooperation in BRICS, IBSA, the UN, and other international fora, such as the fight against terrorism, is critical.

Sixth India-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting

Shri Salman Khurshid, the former External Affairs Minister, visited Brazil from October 14th to October 17th, 2013. He co-chaired the Sixth India-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting with his counterpart in Brasilia. Both sides discussed a broad range of India-Brazil Strategic Partnership issues during the JCM, including political, economic, and commercial issues, agriculture, science and technology, defence, cultural, and hydrocarbon issues. They also discussed regional developments and mutually concerning international issues.

Brazil and India's foreign ministers welcomed the signing of a protocol to the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation. Both sides anticipate exchanging notes on the ratification of the bilateral Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement, which will enhance customs authorities' cooperation in enforcing customs laws and regulations.

This type of collaboration will aid in the expansion of trade while ensuring the security of logistical chains.

During the visit, an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons was signed, enhancing the prospects for Brazil and India to cooperate more closely in legal assistance matters. Both parties expressed satisfaction with the renewal of the 2007 Cooperation Agreement between their respective diplomatic academies, the Foreign Service Institute and the 'Instituto Rio Branco.' Brazil expressed interest in implementing the two diplomatic academies' new professor exchange programme.

Brazil has expressed interest in enlisting India's assistance in applications of space technology such as mineral resource mapping, weather pattern analysis, and topographic changes. Additionally, India has offered to assist Brazil in developing and launching micro- and mini-satellites.

The seminar is titled 'India-Brazil: A Partnership for the Twenty-First Century.' On October 3, 2013, the Indian Embassy in Brasilia, in collaboration with FUNAG, a public foundation affiliated with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, hosted a seminar in Brazilia titled "India and Brazil: A Partnership for the Twenty-First Century." The two countries' roles in addressing governance challenges and opportunities, strategic partnership, and the evolution of Brazil-India relations were discussed.

Institutional Mechanisms

As strategic partners, India and Brazil have established a number of institutional mechanisms to coordinate various aspects of their bilateral relationship. This included the Joint Commission Meeting (at the Foreign Minister level), the Strategic Dialogue (NSA), Consultations with the Foreign Office (Secretary), the Trade Monitoring Mechanism (TMM), the Economic and Financial Dialogue, the Consular and Mobility Dialogue, the Joint Defence Commission, and the India-Brazil Business Leaders Forum. The TMM concluded its work on 24 January 2020.

Additionally, both parties maintain a number of Joint Working Groups to advance sectoral cooperation.

Parliamentary Exchanges

A Brazilian parliamentary delegation attended the BRICS Women Parliamentarians' Forum in Jaipur, India, on the 20th and 21st of August 2016. A Brazil-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, chaired by Deputy Vinicius Carvalho (Republicanos Party), is made up of 35 lower-house members and one senator in Brazil.

India had an India-LAC Parliamentary Friendship Group during the previous Lok Sabha term.

Investment And Trade

Bilateral Trade: India and Brazil conducted bilateral trade worth US$ 8.2 billion in 2018-19. India traded 3.8 billion dollars worth of goods with Brazil and imported 4.4 million dollars worth of goods from the country. India's top exports to Brazil include agrochemicals, synthetic yarns, auto components and parts, pharmaceuticals, and petroleum products.

Brazil exports crude oil, gold, vegetable oil, sugar, and bulk minerals and ores to India.

Bilateral Investments: Indian firms have invested in information technology, pharmaceuticals, energy, agribusiness, mining, engineering, and automobiles, while Brazilian firms have invested in automobiles, information technology, mining, energy, biofuels, and footwear.

  • India has made significant investment in Brazil. UPL has invested USD 150 million in new plants in Sao Paulo and is focused on growing the pulses segment, which includes chickpeas, lentils, and specialty beans.

  • Sterlite Group has been awarded a USD 800 million power transmission line project (Sterlite Group intends to invest USD 4 billion in Brazil by 2022), and UPL has invested USD 150 million in new plants in Sao Paulo and is eager to expand its pulses segment, which includes chickpeas, lentils, and special beans.

  • In 2018, India invested a total of USD 6 billion in Brazil, while Brazil invested a total of USD 1 billion in India.

Trade Monitoring Mechanisms: India and Brazil have established a trade monitoring mechanism to track and identify bottlenecks in bilateral trade and to implement appropriate remedies.

Since 2008, the TMM has met five times. The most recent meeting took place on January 24, 2020, in New Delhi.

India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement

MERCOSUR is a region of South America comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. India and the MERCOSUR signed a Preferential Trade Agreement in 2004. (PTA). Both sides agreed to increase trade opportunities by expanding the India-Mercosur PTA's current list of 450 items.

On September 24, 2019, the most recent meeting with MERCOSUR was held via video conferencing.

Defence & Security Cooperation

India and Brazil signed a defence cooperation agreement in 2003. As a formalised mechanism for defence cooperation, the Joint Defence Committee (JDC) meets on a regular basis. Six JDC meetings have been held between the two parties thus far.

The sixth JDC meeting took place in Brasilia in February 2019.

PM Modi and President Bolsonaro emphasised the importance of broad-based bilateral defence cooperation in strengthening the strategic partnership during President Bolsonaro's State Visit to India (24-27 January 2020).

On January 27, 2020, New Delhi hosted a defense-industry-focused event. Taurus Armas SA, a Brazilian firearms company, signed a joint venture agreement with Jindal Defence (a subsidiary of the O P Jindal Group) to manufacture and sell small arms in India during the President's visit. The agreement calls for the construction of a plant in Hisar with an initial investment of $5 million and a phased development plan (Haryana).

Through a data sharing agreement, the Indian and Brazilian Navies are also coordinating technical aspects of White Shipping Information.

Security And Cooperation

India and Brazil established a mechanism for strategic dialogue in 2006 to address regional and global issues of mutual interest. On the Indian side, this dialogue is being led by the National Security Advisor (NSA). Four meetings have been held thus far.

The most recent meeting took place in New Delhi in November 2015.

The two countries already have an Extradition Treaty, a Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, and an Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.


On the occasion of President Bolsonaro's January 2020 State Visit, CERT-In and its counterpart agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber Security Cooperation.

Additionally, India and Brazil collaborate on cyber issues through the BRICS and the IBSA.

Space Cooperation

India and Brazil signed a framework agreement for the peaceful use of outer space in 2004 as well as an inter-institutional agreement on space agency cooperation. Both countries have worked together to share information and track Indian satellites.

As part of the UNISPACE+50 initiative, ISRO organised an eight-week training programme on nanosatellite construction (50th Anniversary of the First United Nations Conference on Space).

This programme, dubbed 'UNNATI' (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly and Training by ISRO), was attended by two officials from the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB).

Cooperation in Science and Technology (S&T)

Science and technology are another critical area of cooperation (S&T). India and Brazil signed a Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement on September 12, 2006.

President Bolsonaro signed a Program of Scientific and Technological Cooperation (PoC S&T) with India during his recent State Visit.

  • Thus far, the S&T Cooperation has convened 15 joint workshops and three mega/coordinated projects in the areas of biotechnology and human health, renewable energy (including low-carbon technologies), information and communication technology (ICT), ocean sciences, and climate change.

  • The most recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology was held on May 30, 2018.

  • The Maitri-Indo-Brazil Agritech Cross-Incubation Program is currently in its first year and aims to accelerate the adoption of new agricultural technologies.

Collaboration on Biofuels, Oil, and Gas

Brazilian companies, which are already market leaders in this sector, have significant business opportunities in the bioenergy sector. India and Brazil are already cooperating in multilateral forums such as Bio platforms.

India's 'National Biofuel Policy' and Brazil's 'Renova Bio' Program both aim to increase the current percentage of biofuel blended with Petrol and Diesel.

There has been an increase in engagement in the hydrocarbon sector in recent years. Brazil is home to India's largest upstream investment in South America. In fiscal year 2018-19, India imported 3.4 million tonnes of crude oil from Brazil, valued at US$ 1.6 billion.

Brazil is South America's second largest oil producer after Venezuela, with total crude oil reserves of 13.4 billion barrels. President Bolsonaro's State Visit resulted in the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to strengthen cooperation in the fields of bioenergy and oil and gas. Brazil has signed the International Solar Alliance Agreement and it is awaiting ratification.

Collaboration benefits agriculture, food processing, and animal husbandry.

Agriculture, food processing, and animal husbandry are additional key areas of cooperation between the two countries. Brazil's and India's cattle are genetically identical. For centuries, Indian cattle such as Gir and Kankrej have been genetically modified to produce large amounts of milk. Both parties are collaborating on capacity building and technology transfer.

Stipendiary Programs

Brazil is covered by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) Scholarship programme, which offers two annual fixed slots. Brazil is also included in the AYUSH Scholarship Scheme.

ITEC Programme: In the last seven years, the ITEC programme has benefited approximately 55 Brazilians with communications, management, and defence training (from 2011 onwards).

ITEC has been used to fill nine slots in various defence courses over the last five years. Four Brazilian diplomats received training at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.

Cultural Exchange

A Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for 2020-2024 was signed during President Bolsonaro's January 2020 State Visit to India. India's culture, religion, performing arts, and philosophy abound in Brazil.

  • The first Indian cultures to reach Brazil were spiritual, philosophical, and religious. Indian folklore and celebrations have a lot in common with the joyous and colourful celebrations of the north and northeast of Brazil.

  • Bharatanatyam arrived first, followed by Odissi, Kathak, and Kuchipudi. Yoga is taught by many organisations throughout Brazil. Others include Ramakrishna Mission, ISKCON, Satya Sai Baba, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Bhakti Vedanta Foundation.

  • Yoga and Ayurveda are popular in Brazil. The Brazilian Association of Ayurveda (ABRA) is a non-profit organisation with members in all nine Brazilian states.

  • The third International Congress on Ayurveda was held in Rio de Janeiro in March 2018 with over 4000 delegates from India.

In 2015, the 1st International Day of Yoga was observed in 12 Brazilian cities, with a stamp issued by Correois (Brazilian Postal Department). Since September 2017, the Embassy offers regular yoga classes.

Brésil's capital Brasilia joined other Brazilian cities in celebrating the 5th International Day of Yoga.

On June 21, 2019, a mass yoga session was held in front of Brasilia's National Museum, with the Cathedral as a backdrop. A solemn session was held in the Chambers of Deputies (Lower House of Parliament) with guest speakers highlighting the importance of Yoga in daily life. Across Brazil, over 5000 people took part in events.

In Brazil, the government and NGOs are trying to teach nonviolence to students, youth, and police. Mahatma Gandhi statues in Rio, Sao Paulo, and Londrina. Every year, the Filhos de Gandhy (Sons of Gandhi) organise street processions in Salvador, Brazil. On October 2, 2018, Correois (Brazilian Postal Department) issued a commemorative postal stamp.

Various activities were held in 2019 in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birthday. To give a befitting end to the celebrations of Bapu@150, 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.

The Indian Community In Brazil

The Indian community of PIOs/NRIs in Brazil is small, with only about 2000 people. Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Manuas are the most populous cities. Professionals and businessmen make up the majority of the community, with a few scientists/researchers from fields such as agriculture, physics, and so on. There is an Indian Association in Sao Paulo.

Travel/Visas/Airport Transfers

Under a bilateral agreement, holders of diplomatic and official passports are exempt from visa requirements for stays of up to 90 days. There are no direct flights between India and Brazil. Europe (London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam), the United States (New York and Chicago), and Dubai all offer convenient connections.

Convergences And Opportunities

Despite the fact that substantive ties between the two countries are strengthening, there are still some tasks to be completed. The first is the vast distance that must be bridged in order for bilateral relations to thrive. There are currently no direct flights or bulk shipping routes to Brazil. Both countries are densely populated, with India having around 14 billion people (the world's second-largest) and Brazil with 0.20 billion.


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