NEW DELHI – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tried on Monday to attract private Indian investment in his country for closer strategic and economic ties between the two emerging markets.
On the last of his four-day visit, Bolsonaro told a meeting of business leaders from the two countries that there were “unmatched potential” and opportunities for India in Brazil.
“We, Brazil and India, are almost 20 per cent of the world’s population and we are among the world’s largest economies. We have a great deal to do together and thus elevate Brazil and India to the prominent position they deserve,” he said.
Bolsonaro highlighted 15 agreements the two countries signed on Saturday that signaled “we are increasingly on the right path.”
He said he shared a good rapport with and praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist leader who, like the far-right Brazilian president, has risen to power with a populist rightwing approach.
“My exchange here with the political authorities, and especially with the prime minister, makes me certain that our countries will come to occupy a prominent position (in the world),” he said.
“We have the will to be victorious and we have wonderful people. God willing, we will achieve all the goals we desire.”
The president arrived in India on Friday accompanied by a huge contingent of Brazilian businesspersons to seek joint investment in sectors like defense production with an offer of Brazil’s privatization and open market reforms.
Marta Sellier, special secretary for Brazil’s investment partnership program, said the government had embraced the reforms agenda for more private investments.
“We want to bring private companies,” she added.
Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque told the business meeting there was a massive opportunity for the two countries in the energy sector, especially biofuels.
Energy-hungry India, the world’s third-largest contributor of greenhouse gases and the second-most populous country, has already put in place a policy to promote biofuels and cut imports of fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal.
Similarly, Brazil’s RenovaBio program also aims to boost the use of biofuels in the fifth most-populous country that has the world’s sixth-largest greenhouse gas emissions.
India’s energy consumption is expected to grow as the country aspires to become by 2024 a “Five Trillion Dollar” economy from the current $2.6 trillion despite the fact its growth rate has been lower than expected in the last few quarters.
“Brazil is the largest producer of sugar cane ethanol while India has the largest sugar industry in the world. It is time to join our efforts and our forces to make ethanol a global commodity,” Albuquerque said, pitching for a partnership in developing the renewable fuel made from biomass.
Bilateral trade between India and Brazil increased to $8.2 billion in 2018-19 which is more or less balanced as it includes $3.8 billion as Indian exports to Brazil and $4.4 million as imports by India.