Brazil’s Bolsonaro in maiden India visit

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NEW DELHI, Jan 24, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
arrived for his first official visit to India on Friday aiming to boost ties
between the two stuttering BRICS economies and with fellow right-wing leader Narendra Modi.

Critics call both men authoritarian and populist in the mould of leaders
like US President Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Turkey’s Recep
Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orban in Hungary.

Modi, facing more than a month of protests over a new citizenship law, has
never given a proper press conference as prime minister and Bolsonaro said
this week he would no longer give interviews.

Bolsonaro, accompanied by ministers and business leaders for the four-day
visit, is this year’s guest of honour at Republic Day celebrations on Sunday
when India showcases its military might and culture.

“It will be an opportunity to re-energise our strategic partnership and
take it forward in a focused manner,” an official at the Indian foreign
ministry said.

Trade between India and Brazil — part of the BRICS group with Russia,
China and South Africa — has risen in recent years, but reaching only a
relatively modest $8.2 billion in 2018-19.

Neither economy is doing well, with Brazil narrowly averting a fresh
recession last year and Indian growth hitting a six-year low and unemployment
its highest in four decades.

The two sides are expected to sign nearly two dozen agreements on
agriculture, defence and energy cooperation, including investments in the
hydrocarbon sector amid political crises in oil-producing nations like
Venezuela and Iran.

Differences over sugar may sour the mood, however, with Brazil unhappy
about India’s sugar subsidies. Some small protests by Indian sugar farmers
were expected during the visit.

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