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India-Brazil ties transformed after Lula's visit: Envoy

India's Ambassador to Brazil Hardeep Singh Puri says that India and Brazil have emerged as "major voice of moderation" in the international scene.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2007 08:29 IST

India and Brazil have emerged as "major voice of moderation" in the international scene with the two-trillion dollar economies transforming their strategic ties across diverse areas, says India's Ambassador to Brazil Hardeep Singh Puri.

"Both are trillion-dollar economies, both are large developing countries with multi-cultural societies and constitute major voice of moderation," Puri told IANS in an interview here days after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to India.

Lula ended his three-day visit to New Delhi on Tuesday that saw an all-encompassing transformation of ties between the two economic powerhouses of Asia and Latin America.

This transformation was reflected in the Red Fort Declaration signed on Monday that seeks to provide a "solid economic underpinning" to their growing strategic ties and outlines an ambitious agenda for increased cooperation on global issues like UN Security Council reforms, global trade talks and climate change.

"The Red Fort Declaration is a transformative document," said Puri.

"It is Brazil-India cooperation in IBSA comprising India, Brazil and South Africa that made the establishment of G-20 possible. To say that G-20 is an important component in global trade negotiations would be an understatement," Puri said.

"If Brazil and India can take a position together on an important global issue, no one can ignore it," the envoy added.

"India-Brazil strategic partnership is one whose time has come," said Puri, who has worked tirelessly as New Delhi's man in Brasilia to make this transformation possible.

The new strategic equations between India and Brazil, an influential member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), are reflected in prospects of cooperation in the crucial area of civilian nuclear cooperation.

"Brazil has been positive about it. As Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has said, India and Brazil have already agreed to cooperate in softer areas of civilian nuclear energy," Puri said.

Brazil will, however, take a formal stand in the NSG only after India concludes an bilateral agreement with the US and puts in place a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Promotion of ethanol - a variant of sugarcane - as a motor spirit internationally is another important area of collaboration between the two countries.

"Brazilians would like to see ethanol as an internationally traded commodity. India is already pursuing five per cent blending with petrol in nine states. The prospects of cooperation and energy savings are huge," Puri said.

Besides, OVL, India's oil major, and Petrobras, Brazil's energy giant, are collaborating in oil exploration and have already made considerable investment in it, Puri said while alluding to the memorandum of agreement signed between the two during Lula's visit.

Given this growing bonhomie, which is only going to increase further with more people-to-people contacts, more travel, joint films and, yes, soccer solidarity between the two nations, bilateral trade and investment are set for a quantum jump, said Puri.

" $10 billion bilateral trade by 2010 is very achievable. The target is not only realistic but, as President Lula said here, we can also exceed it," an upbeat Puri said while noting the "steady upcoming spiral in bilateral trade," especially after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's historic visit to Brasilia in September last year.

The new business buoyancy is epitomised in billion-dollar deals in India by Embraer, the leading Brazilian manufacturer of civilian aircraft.

Chennai-based Paramount Airways is in love with Embraer aircraft and plans to add another 51 Embraer planes to its existing fleet of five. Of this, 11 Embraer planes will be delivered right this month.

Paramount Airways signed an agreement with Embraer during Lula's visit for the acquisition of 40 planes, a massive contract worth $2 billion, which will be delivered from 2008 to 2011.

"Facts speak for themselves. Brazil's is one of more important strategic partnerships of India," said Puri.

First Published: Jun 10, 2007 08:26 IST