Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Significance to India
India and Brazil held a bilateral summit in the backdrop of BRICS summit. This visit should be seen in the larger context of BRICS summit as all the five countries involved in BRICS summit are important partners of India.
Of the four countries, Brazil is most distant geographically and also intensity of contact.
Brazil President Michel Temer visited India for the first time. The relation between both countries is improving and consolidating in last decade as there was no major relation before that.
The larger focus of India in the summit is on terrorism. Brazil has supported India’s action against terrorism. There are two ways of looking at terrorism-
As a global phenomenon
Cross border terrorism which is India’s specific concern
Terrorism is not a major phenomenon in some parts, particular South American world.
Brazil has urban crime problem and drug problem. Brazil is untroubled by terrorism unlike South American countries like Peru and Columbia.
Terrorism is a global threat. It has organised the Olympics and Football world cup in space of 2 years where all countries come. Thus they know it is an important threat to disrupt events, destroy people and affecting many countries. Hence, Brazil has no reservation in condemning terrorism. It has said that international community must come together to combat terrorism. They are in agreement with India in one of its initiative- The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
So Brazil understands the conceptual aspect of terrorism and India’s position. With regards to specific aspect of Pakistan, they don’t have much relation with Pakistan. Hence this issue is remote for them and India also doesn’t expect more support on this from them. India’s efforts are now to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and so this kind of understanding is needed from important countries in the world.
India’s trade relationship with Brazil is around 12 million USD which is a moderate kind of relationship. But this time Brazil has said that there is a chance to increase the trade volume by 3 times. Till now, the major focus is on commodity so it is difficult to increase trade volume. For instance, India grows coffee which is Brazil’s major exports. Animal feed and minerals- Brazil is rich in minerals and agricultural resources.
However in future, India might need to import pulses. If India has shortage of food products due to growing population and increase in pressure on land, India can use Brazil’s land and water resources which is plenty.
India’s export includes pharma products, generic drugs, service industry like IT, bio tech.
Defence relation between both countries can be enhanced due to their huge defence needs of helicopters, aircrafts (Embraer) and submarines. There is also a possibility of cooperation in Science and Technology and developing designs.
Bilateral defence relationship
India and Brazil have normal exchanges in defence, for example, their officers coming to NDA, coming for training exercises and visit of Chiefs to each other’s country.
The real potential is in designing and trying to develop defence industry which is not military cooperation. Both countries are aware that their requirements are large. So instead of importing everything they can develop together. The defence relation between both countries have not acquired pace and momentum as hoped. But it has few reasons like
Political crisis in Brazil
India was passive over last few years in defence cooperation
Space cooperation is possible. Brazil has space programme but India is far ahead. From time to time, India offers space technology to Brazil as India has now developed lot of user space technology whether it is for scientific purpose or meteorology.
The new partnership
Four agreements were signed between both the countries:
Agriculture and animal husbandry
Pharma product regulations
Cattle genomics and assistant reproduction technology
Investment corporation and facilitation treaty
These are important areas for both countries. Brazil is rich in agriculture and has done extraordinary research. Embrapa is world leader in some of the technologies. Brazil has different zones of soils where lot of work has been done and India can learn lot.
Similarly, Cattle stock of Brazil is very important for them. Zebu cattle in Brazil has some Indian connection in origin. There is scientific exchange of their embryos also.
Pharma export from India is very big and so to regulate the trade and see that market access takes place is important.
Investment and facilitation of investment is also important.
So, these agreements may not look very big but these are specific targets. And in a way, this is the way to go to pick the niche area where there is a mutual need or understanding needs to be developed further.
Strategic relation is very important as both are mature democracies, developing countries, have different problems from developed countries and require greater voice for developing countries, partners in expansion of UNSC and become permanent partners, both believe in institutional reform for WB and IMF. So India and Brazil are natural partners with same kind of outlook over global issues.
Despite huge distance and diverse history- India was colonised by British and Brazil was colonised by Portuguese, so there are cultural differences. But there are remarkable affinities and common values like both are noisy democracies- coalition governments are formed, understanding and misunderstanding between centre and state, Independent judiciary, vibrant press, critical NGOs etc. So this aspect of functioning democracy is common.
Both are developing countries. Though Brazil’s size is two and half times of India but same size as Indian economy. Though they are better in per capita income than India, but there is poverty. Brazil has diversity- religion, languages, culture, region, ethnics.
So, democracy, development and diversity are the common interactive points between two nations.
Connecting the dots:
India and Brazil have the potential to upgrade their relation in diverse sectors. Comment.