Republic Day 2020: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro could be the chief guest at Republic Day parade

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New Delhi | Published: November 8, 2019 5:11:06 PM

According to diplomatic sources, “There is a possibility of having the Brazil President Bolsonaro as the chief guest, but there has been no confirmation if an official invitation has been sent.”

Republic Day 2020, Republic Day preprations, Republic Day celebrations, Jair Bolsonaro, india brazil relationsBrazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (L) shakes hands with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the BRICS summit in Osaka, Japan June 28, 2019. (Reuters)

At the next year’s Republic Day celebrations, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is likely to be the chief guest.

As part of the government’s plan to expand its presence in the South American region and strengthening of South-South Cooperation, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Bolsonaro, bilaterally on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit, where the invitation will be extended personally.

According to diplomatic sources, “There is a possibility of having the Brazil President Bolsonaro as the chief guest, but there has been no confirmation if an official invitation has been sent.”

For India, this will be the third time a Brazil president will be the chief guest. The last time was in 2004 when the former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was the guest.

Both Modi and the Brazil leader have met a few times this year including on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, and the recently concluded Future Investment Initiative business forum in Riyadh.

Over the last six years, the government has been focusing on expanding its presence in the region and as part of this besides visits by various ministers to different countries in the region, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Modi have visited many of the countries both in South and Central America.

In fact “Potential for developing relations with Latin America’’ is part of the agenda of Committee on External Affairs for 2019-20, Lok Sabha.

While the former President of Argentina Mauricio Macri came to India, President Kovind had visited Bolivia and Chile and Vice President Naidu had visited Paraguay and Costa Rica this year. Modi had already had meetings with the President of Chile on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in France.

India-MERCOSUR

According to officials, at the bilateral level Modi is expected urge the Brazilian leader to expedite negotiations for the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which has been pending for some time due to elections in some of the member countries.

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official confirmed that “There has been no progress on the expansion of India-MERCOSUR PTA talks. There are some differences among the members of MERCOSUR and until that is not resolved talks cannot move forward.”

In an effort to expand trade volumes, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay who members of MERCOSUR, have been in discussion with the Indian side seeking expansion of the tariff lines. The expansion is expected to strengthen trade relations between the countries involved, and to meet the trade target of $30 billion by 2030.

Bilaterally, trade has been witnessing upward swing and Brazil has emerged as one of the top trading partners in the Latin America & Caribbean region. And very recently, Bolsonaro has announced visa-free entry for Indians, which according to researchers at the Center of Analysis and Dissemination of the Paraguayan Economy – CADEP, could increase the flows of business and people between Brazil and India.

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