SAO PAULO – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is set to arrive in New Delhi on Friday for a four-day official India visit to attract investment and boost trade ties between two powerful economies.
Bolsonaro will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and business leaders of the country during his first India trip as the head of state.
The former army captain would also meet Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and attend the republic day parade in New Delhi on Sunday as chief guest for the annual show of India’s cultural soft power and its military might.
The agenda of Bolsonaro, who assumed office a year ago, is centered on economic affairs, as one of the main objectives of the visit is to strengthen food and energy trade ties between two economic power houses.
“We have a keen interest in India using more ethanol in its fuel,” Bolsonaro said before leaving for India.
In 2019, the trade exchanges between the two countries crossed $7 billion, out of which Brazilian exports to India stood at $2.76 billion, a figure considered low by Brasilia.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Economy, the Latin American nation had a trade deficit of $1.49 billion with India last year.
“We still have much room for improvement in trade with India,” said Reinaldo Jose de Almeida Salgado, the secretary for bilateral negotiations in Asia.
Bolsonaro would also present investment opportunities in different sectors, such as infrastructure, transport, mining, oil, and natural gas, to Indian businesspersons, and talk about the “new business climate” in his country.
The government intends to attract the investors’ attention to the privatization and concession program it has launched, with Brasilia expected to sell 300 assets and collect around $150 billion reais ($36.58 billion) in the current year.
In the infrastructure sector, Brazil intends to offer 44 projects to the private sector this year, including seven highways, six railway lines, and nine port terminals.
The president had already outlined Brazil’s economic interests during the 21st BRICS summit, which was held in Brasilia in November and attended by leaders from Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Bolsonaro and Modi, two of the biggest faces of right-wing populism worldwide, had met in the Planalto presidential palace in the Brazilian capital during the summit, their second meeting after an earlier encounter at the G20 summit in Japan’s Osaka.
The Brazilian president is accompanied by a committee that includes six members of his cabinet, including Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo for his India visit.
The other members include Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Correa de Costa Dias, Bento Albequerque (mines and energy), Marcos Pontes (Science and Technology) along with General Augusto Heleno Riberio from the Institutional Security Cabinet and other officials.