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Brazilian president arrives in India

india Updated: Jun 03, 2007 10:44 IST

IANS
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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in New Delhi on Sunday morning on a three-day state visit that is set to energise strategic and economic ties between the two continent-size countries and firm up cooperation on global issues like UN reforms, climate change and multilateral trade talks.

Lula flew in New Delhi from London with around 100 businessmen, ministers and senior officials in what is being billed as "the most important visit" the Brazilian leader is making this year to underline the burgeoning ties between the two countries that may be continents apart but are growing closer in spirit.

With India and Brazil making it to the exclusive club of trillion dollar economies, the accent of Lula's visit is on promoting more business and investment between the two countries.

The launch of a CEOs forum on Monday, comprising 15 top corporate honchos from each side, with the Indian side led by steel tycoon Ratan Tata and Brazilian side led by Petrobras boss Jose Sergio Gabrielli, is the key highlight of Lula's visit to India.

Quadrupling bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2010 and promoting Brazilian investment in India's expanding infrastructure are focus areas of Lula's economic diplomacy in India - his second visit to the country in three years.

Lula will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide array of bilateral, regional and global issues on Monday and interact with the newly-launched India-Brazil CEOs forum. A slew of agreements to boost economic, energy and cultural cooperation, including an extradition treaty, are expected to be signed by the two leaders after the talks.

Manmohan Singh is likely to seek support of Brazil, an influential member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, for global civil nuclear cooperation.

During Manmohan Singh's visit to Brasilia in September last year, Lula had indicated that his country appreciated India's growing need for energy, but indicated that his country will take a stand in the NSG only after India and the US finalise a bilateral civil nuclear agreement.

Brazil's emergence as an agricultural superpower and its status as a world leader in ethanol - a byproduct of sugarcane - are added attractions for India to deepen its multi-faceted ties with this Latin American powerhouse.

Lula will also meet President APJ Abdul Kalam, Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling coalition, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition LK Advani and discuss with them a range of bilateral and global issues.

The Brazilian president will address top business leaders of India at an interactive function on Monday afternoon where he is expected to pitch Brazil as the land of opportunity for Indian business and seek more Indian participation in the burgeoning IT sector in his country.

Lula's visit will also be a useful prelude to the G8 summit a couple of days later in Germany in so far as it will provide Manmohan Singh and Lula an opportunity to discuss leading themes of the G8 summit like climate change, global warming and multi-lateral Doha round of trade negotiations.

Lula will head to the German resort town of Heiligendamm on Tuesday to take part in the G8 summit, scheduled for June 6-8, where Brazil, along with India, China, Mexico and South Africa have been invited as outreach partners. Manmohan Singh is likely to leave for Heiligendamm the next day.