The relationship between India Brazil can be seen at all three levels: bilateral, plurilateral in forums such as IBSA, BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4 and in the larger multilateral arena such as the UN, WTO, UNESCO, WIPO.
In the last decade, bilateral relations between India and Brazil have been strong under the leadership of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. His successor President Dilma Rousseff’s first ever visit to India in March 2012 provided greater commitment and content to this relationship. During the visit, she interacted with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and held detailed discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues including ‘inter alia’ trade and commerce, science and technology, cultural exchange, UNSC reforms, terrorism, WTO and climate change. Brazil is one of the most important trading partners of India in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region. A major portion of Indian exports to Brazil comprises manufactured products, followed by commodities and then semi-manufactured goods. Whereas, Brazil’s exports to India are dominated by commodities, mainly crude oil.There have been two-way investments between India and Brazil.
While the Brazilian companies have invested in automobiles, IT, mining, energy, biofuels, footwear sectors in India, the Indian companies have invested in such sectors as IT, Pharmaceutical, Energy, agri-business, mining, engineering/auto sectors. Indian companies such as TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Cadilla, Mahindra, L&T, Renuka Sugars, United Phosphorus, Polaris are present in Brazil. The Brazilian companies present in India include Marco Polo (automobiles), Vale (biggest mining company), Stefanini(IT), Gerdau (Steel).
The bilateral relations between India and Brazil have been strengthened in particular by the establishment of the BRICS which represents – in the idea of the founder members – a new model of international engagement and cooperation, within which all issues that are crucial for the world economy are examined: from the climate issue to that of the currency basket, or from issues regarding the processes of modernisation and innovative development to those relating to the safety of particular industrial sectors. The creation of the bank of the BRICS is one of the initiatives. The bank will support joint development projects in the associated countries and face any eventual future international financial crises, by using a basket of currencies that will act as a counterbalance to the dollar. The announcement of the establishment of this bank was made in Durban in 2013, during the V Summit of the BRICS, the agreement for its realization was signed during the meeting of July 2014 in Fortaleza, while in July 2015, the representatives of the five states, launched their New Development Bank (NDB) which officially opened doors in Shanghai. NDB, which is chaired by the Indian Kundapur Vaman Kamath, is aimed at financing the collaboration among nations that represent 25% of the global GDP.
In 2003, India, Brazil and South Africa set up IBSA, an important forum for dialogue among the three emerging countries. The cooperation within IBSA takes place on three main levels: the coordination between heads of state and government that meet at special summits aimed at identifying the guidelines of measures to be taken on global issues; the inter-ministerial cooperation, instead, is responsible for promoting the political, economic and cultural integration of the three countries; the third level of cooperation relates to the interactions between the civil societies. This initiative has favoured the identification of new prospects for the intensification of relations between the productive and civil sectors of the three countries, starting from a common forum for cooperation between industries, private companies and non-governmental organizations.
These three nations have put at the top of their agenda the realisation of a gradual and effective global governance reform which is multipolarism-oriented and which may be able to give voice to the ‘global south’. India and Brazil are working with great commitment for the development of IBSA in order to build an institutional bridge between SACU, SADC and the respective free trade areas, connecting South Asia to the UNASUR, through the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic.
The recent cooperation with CELAC, has marked a new phase in the international relations between India and Latin America. The objective of this partnership is to build a structure aimed at improving trade in goods, services and people, through the strengthening of air and naval communication routes. India and Latin America’s collaboration concerns issues such as energy, security and those related to mineral resources. India is going to offer the CELAC countries its know-how for the mapping of geological resources. Latin American countries and India are also tackling other issues related to agriculture, with the goal of building a partnership for the exchange of ideas and knowledge on agricultural practices. They are also interested in a collaboration in the science and technology sectors and, last but certainly not least, in international policy: both India and Latin America agree on the opportunity to reform the United Nations and to intervene in a coordinated manner on the financial crisis, on climate change and on international terrorism.
Filippo Romeo & Pedro Santacruz