Convergence of interest brings India, Brazil together | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Convergence of interest brings India, Brazil together

PTI | ByLalit K Jha (HindustanTimes.com), Minneapolis
Jul 01, 2005 04:08 AM IST

The trade between India and Brazil in first five months has crossed the $ 1 billion figure, reports Lalit K Jha.

Democracy, opening up of economy and a desire to play an important role at the global level in particular to work for the development and welfare of people in developing and third world countries, has brought both India and Brazil closure to each other than ever in history, the Indian Ambassador to Brazil, Amitava Tripathi, has said.

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"We (India and Brazil) are in the process of developing a historic relationship and are all set to play an important role together in international politics. It is the strong convergence of interest to protect the interests of the developing world that has brought the two nations together and so close," Tripathi, told the HindustanTimes.com, in an exclusive interview over telephone.

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After his three-year tenure as head of the Indian mission at Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, during which the relationship between the two nations reached a new crescendo, Tripathi now moves to Europe as the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland at Bern. Hardeep Singh Puri, who at present is India's permanent representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva, would replace him.

Likely to take up his new assignment by year end, Tripathi's term at Brasilia, diplomatic circle believe has been a historic one. It is not only the bilateral relationship between India and Brazil which has strengthened during this period, but also, the common stand taken by two nations at the international forums surprised many in the developed world.

Considered to be a key player in such a development, Tripathi said: "I am happy that it all happened at the same time (during my tenure)."

In a free-wheeling interview with HindustanTimes.com, Tripathi counted three important developments during his tenure. One G-4, in which India and Brazil represent developing nations, second common stand taken by the two nations at the WTO and finally enhanced regional co-operation like the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Dialogue Forum.

"G4 now has become a strong powerful block at the global level, which can't be ignored any more," Tripathi said, adding hopefully India might become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council before he leaves for the new assignment.

When asked, how it all happened, Tripathi said soon after his arrival in Brasilia in middle of 2002, Brazil went in for a fresh election in October that year in which Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Labour Party was elected as the President.

"In his first speech in January 2003 after becoming the President, Lula said he wanted to have stronger bilateral ties with India," he said.

Following opening up of the Brazilian economy in early 90s simultaneously with India and establishment of democracy, the successive Brazilian leadership, Tripathi observed looked at India as an important global player matching its wavelength. 

As head of the Latin American and Carribean Desk at Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, wherein he believed that India needed to significantly improve its presence in this part of the world, Tripathi thought the Brazilian President's remark in the public as a God send opportunity, to embark on a "historic relationship" between the two nations.

"A country of half a billion people and a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of three trillion dollars should have been our gateway to Latin America, but all these years this couldn't happen," he said. 

Thereafter, with Tripathi head of the mission followed a series of high-level interaction between the two countries. "Never in the past, have so many high-level delegation from both the countries visited each other in such a short duration," he claimed. In fact, every few months one or the other Cabinet Minister is seen in Brazil.

The Brazilian President was the chief guest at the 2004 Republic Day parade, while the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh is expected to come to Brazil on "State Visit" soon.

In a sign of growing economic relationship between the two countries, the bilateral trade between India and Brazil in the first five months of the year (January to May 2005) has crossed the $ 1 billion figure. This compared to about $ 1.2 billion over the past few years.

"This is amazing growth between the two countries," Tripathi said. By the end of the year, he hopes the figure to cross a record $ 2 billion mark.

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