PM hosts private dinner for Brazilian president

  • IANS, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2007 23:18 IST

In a special gesture that underscored India's blossoming ties with Brazil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted a private dinner at his residence for visiting President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday night.

The two leaders engaged in an informal chat over a range of bilateral and global issues over the sumptuous dinner at Manmohan Singh's 7 Race Course residence, officials told IANS.

Manmohan Singh and Lula, who flew in here in the morning from London with a nearly 100-member strong delegation comprising top business leaders, senior ministers and officials, will hold formal talks to deepen strategic and economic ties between their countries on Monday morning.

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

During Manmohan Singh's visit to Brasilia in September last year, Lula had acknowledged 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.

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.

This new economic synergy will be symbolized by the launch of an Indo-Brazil CEOs forum Monday, comprising 15 top corporate honchos from each side.

Indian steel tycoon Ratan Tata and Brazil's energy major Petrobras boss Jose Sergio Gabrielli will co-chair the CEOs forum.

A slew of agreements to boost economic, energy and cultural cooperation are expected to be signed by the two sides after the talks between Manmohan Singh and Lula.

The agreements will cover a broad range of areas, including an exchange of satellite pictures, collaboration in the field of audio-visual media and energy cooperation between India's oil major ONGC Videsh Limited and Petrobras, sources told IANS.

Lula's three-day state visit to India, his second in three years, is expected 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.

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.

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.


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