Brazilian Prez Bolsonaro arrives in India for R-Day

Brazilian President Bolsonaro arrives in India; both sides to ink 15 pacts on Jan 25

India and Brazil are set to sign 15 agreements to boost cooperation in a wide-range of areas like oil and gas, mining and cyber security after talks between Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

Bolsonaro arrived here on Friday, accompanied by his daughter Laura Bolsonaro, daughter-in-law Leticia Firmo, eight ministers, four members of the Brazilian parliament and a large business delegation.

The Brazilian president is in India primarily to grace the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday as chief guest and explore ways to boost trade ties with India at a time when both the large economies are hit by slowdowns.

Hours after he arrived, Bolsonaro visited the Akshardham temple along with a number of officials.

India's ties with Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, has been on an upswing in the last few years. The country has a population of 210 million with USD 1.8 trillion economy.

On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro will hold extensive talks with an aim to "re-energise" the already close and strategic ties between the two countries, officials said.

After the talks, both sides will sign 15 agreements which will include an investment cooperation and facilitation treaty, an agreement on social security, a pact on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and an MoU on cooperation in bioenergy, they said.

Separate pacts will also be signed to provide for cooperation in areas of cyber security, health and medicine, oil and natural gas, geology and mining and scientific research, they said.

The two sides are also expected to unveil an "action plan" setting specific goals for deeper cooperation in a range of key areas.

"The visit of President Bolsonaro is an extremely important visit. It will be an opportunity to re-energise our strategic partnership and take it forward in a focused manner," Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Thakur Singh said at a press conference on Thursday.

This is the first visit of President Bolsonaro to India.

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.

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.

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.

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