India-Brazil Relations | UPSC Notes

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India-Brazil Relations | UPSC Notes

Brazil is the biggest country in both South America and Latin America. Its official name is the Federative Republic of Brazil.

The relationship between India and Brazil goes back 500 years.

Pedro Alvares, a Portuguese explorer, was on his way to India in 1500 when he was blown off course by a storm and ended up in Brazil instead.

He stopped off in Brazil on his way to Goa. In the colonial era, this led the Portuguese to link India and Brazil together and trade different kinds of crops and horses.

In 1948, India and Brazil started talking to each other on a formal level. The long-term strategic partnership between the two countries is built on a shared global vision, democratic values, and a promise to promote economic growth and social inclusion for the good of the people in both countries.

• During the cold war, India and Brazil tried to figure out how to fit into the world order set by the US and the USSR.

In 1967, for example, both countries said that the thought of making the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was bad.

• In this way, the fact that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade in 2020 is a boost to India’s relations with a major power and an opportunity for India to expand its presence in Latin America. • The relationship between India and Brazil is extensive, covering every important aspect of interaction, and is visible at all three levels: bilateral, and plurilateral in forums like the IBSA, BRICS, G-20, and G-4, as well as in the larger multilateral arena like the UN, WTO, UNESCO, WIPO, etc.

Areas of Cooperation


Political Areas of Cooperation

• The strategic relationship between Brazil and India, which started in 2006, has grown stronger. Both countries work closely together in BRICS, IBSA, G4, G20, and the larger multilateral context of the UN.

Brazil and India, along with Germany and Japan, both wanted permanent seats on the UN Security Council and worked towards a multipolar world where big developing countries can set global rules and make international institutions more democratic. Both countries played a key role as leaders of South-South cooperation, also known as the Global South.

• The policy of strategic autonomy in India is the same as the policy of mutual multilateralism in Brazil.

Economic Cooperation

• Brazil is now one of India’s most important trade partners in all of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The sad thing is that trade between the two countries is only $8 billion.

In 2018, India invested about US$ 6 billion in Brazil, and Brazil is thought to have invested about $ 1 billion in India.

In 2019-20, exports were worth US$ 3.97 billion and imports were worth US$ 3.07 billion, for a total of US$ 7.04 billion in trade between the two countries.

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• Bilateral trade between India and Brazil has grown a lot in the last 20 years.

India’s major exports to Brazil are diesel, organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, man-made filaments, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, and textile products (synthetic filaments/fibers, cotton, clothing, accessories, etc.).

Oil goods, especially crude oil, cane sugar, copper ore, soya oil, and gold, were the main things that Brazil sent to India.

Agriculture, food production, and animal husbandry are also important areas where the two countries work together.

• The India-Brazil CEO Forum was set up in 2012, and in January 2016, it was renamed the India-Brazil Business Leader’s Forum.

• Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay are all part of the MERCOSUR group. In 2004, India and MERCOSUR signed a PTA, which stands for Preferential Trade Agreement.


• In 2018, India invested about $6 billion in Brazil, and Brazil invested about $1 billion in India.

• Companies like ONGC, Videocon, TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Cadilla, Mahindra, L&T, and many others have a big presence in Brazil. Brazilian companies in India include Marco Polo (automobiles), Vale (biggest mining company), Stefanini (IT), Gerdau (Steel).


• ONGC Videsh is looking for hydrocarbons in the sea of Brazil. It recently found a lot of natural gas there, which is a big deal.

• Brazil has joined the International Solar Alliance, which is run by India and aims to help developing countries use clean energy.

Defence Cooperation:

In 2003, Brazil and India signed a bilateral agreement called the “Defence Cooperation Agreement.” This agreement calls for the two countries to work together on military issues, especially in the areas of research and development, acquisition, and logistical support.

• As part of the deal, a group called the “Joint Defence Committee” (JDC) has been set up and meets regularly.

• Taurus Armas SA, a Brazilian gun company, made a deal with Jindal Defence, which is part of the O. P. Jindal Group, to make and sell small arms in India. The agreement calls for a plant to be built in Hisar, Haryana, with a starting investment of $5 million. The project will be built up in stages.

• Through a deal to share data, the Indian and Brazilian navies are also working together on the technical parts of White Shipping Information.

Space, technology, and science

• In 2004, India and Brazil signed a framework deal for peaceful use of space and an agreement for cooperation between space agencies.

• Minister Pontes was at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota when the Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 was launched. Amazonia-1 is the first Earth Observation satellite that Brazil fully planned, built, tested, and runs.

• Science and technology: On September 12, 2006, India and Brazil signed the Agreement on S&T Cooperation.

Agriculture, food production, and animal husbandry are also important areas where the two countries work together.

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Cultural Cooperation

• There is a huge amount of interest in India’s culture, religion, performing arts, and thought in Brazil.

• There are a lot of people in Brazil who practise Yoga and Ayurveda. The Brazilian Association of Ayurveda (ABRA) is a non-profit group with offices in 9 Brazilian states and members from all over the country.

• Mahatma Gandhi is very respected in Brazil, and the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are working to teach the idea of nonviolence to students, young people, and police.

• In 2020, the Republic Parade was held in New Delhi, and President Bolsonaro was there.


• There are about 5,000 Indian people living in Brazil, and most of them live in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Manaus.


• The relationship between India and Brazil has, for the most part, stayed the same. But there have been a few small problems lately.

The World Trade Organisation has received a complaint from Brazil about New Delhi’s handouts to sugarcane farmers.

o After India, Brazil is the biggest producer and exporter of sugar. Brazil says that Indian handouts are against the rules of world trade.

China is already Brazil’s biggest trading partner. China has a lot of money, which makes it hard for India to compete.

o China is Brazil’s biggest trade partner, so it’s hard for India to compete.

Even though the BRICS group has a lot of room to grow, it has also been criticised for not having a clear goal.

India and Brazil have different ideas about how to work together on climate change. India wants to stop global warming, but Brazil doesn’t believe climate change studies.

• Connectivity: Perhaps geography is the single biggest obstacle to greater cooperation. There are also no direct flights between the two countries.

• Contacts between people: There aren’t many contacts between civil societies, researchers, scientists, and other groups that could help strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

There aren’t many student exchange schemes or even scientific projects that the two schools work on together. There aren’t many tourists going to or coming from each country.

India-Brazil WTO dispute

• India makes the most sugar in the world, while Brazil makes the second most. As of 2018, the International Sugar Organisation says that Brazil exports 21.26 MMT of sugar, which is 45% of the world’s sugar exports. India, on the other hand, only sends 2% of the world’s sugar.

• Brazil’s arguments

Brazil has said that India’s help to sugar cane farmers (in the form of FRP from the Centre and SAP from the States) is more than what the WTO’s Agriculture Agreement lets India do, which is 10% of the total output.

Brazil has also brought up the fact that India is giving illegal export support.

• India’s stand

India has said that the subsidies were not affecting trade on the global sugar market and that they were meant to help 35 million weak farmers with few resources and keep them from being taken advantage of.

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The government only tells farmers what price the sugar mills will pay them.

There aren’t many public mills in the country, and the government doesn’t buy sugar from them or pay them.

• Guatemala and Australia stand up for Brazil at the WTO.

• The WTO lets its members use its Dispute Settlement Body if the mutual system doesn’t work. India will have the opportunity to go to the DSM’s Appellate Body if the DSB rules against it. During the 2020 visit of the Brazilian President to India, the two countries have agreed to settle the dispute bilaterally and pull the case out of the WTO.

Way Forward

• There are many ways for India and Brazil to work together. For example, upgrading the Strategic Partnership Action Plan, the Bilateral Investment treaty, a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAT) on crime, and agreements on avoiding double taxation, bio-energy or ethanol production, cybersecurity, health, mining, oil and gas exploration and investment, and animal husbandry.

• The Social Security Agreement (SSA) that Brazil and India signed in March 2017 will allow investments in each other’s pension funds. This will help business processes and encourage the flow of investment.

• Brazil’s ethanol programmes are thought to be the oldest, most advanced, and most effective in the world. India receives about 4 million barrels of crude oil every day, so finding other ways to get energy is important.

India can get the energy it needs by working with Brazil to use ethanol instead of fossil fuels.

• The problems of health, schooling for all, and infrastructure need to be fixed. India and Brazil can come up with plans to deal with these problems if they work together through IBSA and BRICS.

• In 2020, the Brazilian Ambassador agreed with the Indian government that the execution of the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the ending of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status were India’s own business.


India and Brazil are both developing countries with similar ideas about democracy, human rights, global government, and liberal strategies. They are trading partners and can learn a lot from each other. People think that the two countries are important for making a new world order because they work together in multilateral and plurilateral groups.