The Hindu, India
Consolidation of the India-Brazil strategic partnership
Luis Inacio Lula da Silva
3 May 2007
The meaning of my visit to India - the second one since my election as the President of Brazil - is to reiterate our readiness to forge a strategic alliance between our countries as I announced during my inaugural address in 2003. The visit of Prime-Minister Manmohan Singh to Brasilia in 2006 has greatly contributed to reinforce this partnership.
Both of our countries share a converging, innovative and hopeful perception of the world. Faced with an unequal world order incapable of responding to problems of development and collective security, India and Brazil avow their confidence in multilateralism and, through democratic dialogue, have been undertaking increasing international responsibilities. In view of threats and challenges such as terrorism, environmental degradation and pandemics, we are putting forward proposals of increased cooperation and solidarity.
The international community regards both of our countries as indispensable actors in reshaping the economic order as well as international politics.
This is what we have been pursing within the G-20. Despite the scepticism and opposition of a few countries, India and Brazil have shown steadfastness and determination in order to achieve a balanced equitable results in the Doha Round negotiations.
Similarly, our countries cooperate in the G-4, in order to accomplish reform in the United Nations. The democratisation of the Security Council is no longer a far-flung dream. Our joint aspiration to become permanent members of the Security Council has gained increased support revealing the credibility, which we have attained in the global debate on the future of collective security.
This is also the principal message of the Outreach Programme of the G-8 Summit, to be held within a few days in Germany. It is high time the main emerging economies were heard more on major global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, new and renewable energy sources and finance for development. It is necessary to listen to emerging economies not only because the populations of our countries are directly affected by those issues, but, particularly, because our countries have been capable of innovative solutions to these multiple challenges.
This is also the case of bio-fuels. We are endeavouring to forge a genuine energy revolution. India and Brazil joined efforts with South Africa, China, United States and the European Union to launch an International Forum on Bio-fuels. The democratization of access to new energy sources comes along with the need to create a new world market for these fuels. This aims at offering an alternative to the price increases and inexorable scarcity of traditional fossil fuel sources [to humanity].
The bio-fuels option is of fundamental importance for the developing countries. That is why India and Brazil are joining efforts and sharing knowledge in order to turn bio-fuels into an energy commodity at worldwide level. Apart from helping to reduce the effects of climate change, bio-fuels offer the prospect of new jobs and income, improvement in living conditions and sustainable development in rural areas. In Brazil, the sugar-ethanol industry generates a million direct jobs, many of which are in cooperatives and family enterprises, and six million indirect jobs. Moreover, we save billions of dollars in imports of petroleum and its by-products.
Another truly strategic partnership that we have been developing is that in the area of medicines. The Indian pharmaceutical sector is very important in this context. In Brazil, we have considerable experience in manufacturing certain types of medicines. We must combine our capabilities in the production of drugs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and other pandemics that devastate the poorest countries, particularly in Africa. Brazil’s recent decision to opt for compulsory licensing of an anti-retroviral drug paves the way for the purchase of cheaper generics from India, hence, ensures the continuity of Brazil’s successful AIDS treatment programme, saving thousands of lives.
Our commitment to the fundamental dignity of human beings explains the decision of India and Brazil and South Africa to create the Facility for Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA), which finances poverty and hunger alleviation projects with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
At IBSA, our three great democracies in the southern hemisphere have signposted their vision of new world architecture based upon collective solidarity. I am certain that, by following the non-violence philosophy championed by Mahatma Gandhi, we follow a pathway for a fairer and more peaceful world.
We want our bilateral partnership to result in increasingly more tangible benefits for both Brazilians and Indians. The size of our respective populations, the economic vigour and the technological advances of both of our countries manifestly indicate how hard we still have to work in order to achieve our potential of cooperation and friendship.
Over the past four years, the flow of trade between India and Brazil has doubled, reaching a record volume of US$ 2.4 billion in 2006. We regard this as a modest number. We need to bring our businessmen closer together and to diversify our exchanges by creating new market niches and trade opportunities.
These are the reasons why I will be accompanied by a significant trade delegation on my trip to India. Prime Minister Singh and I will be launching a Forum for business leaders so that they can advise both governments regarding the definition of measures capable of instigating trade and investment between our countries.
By strengthening our bilateral ties in every domain, India and Brazil will be qualifying themselves further to carry out our leadership and renewal roles with increasing confidence and effect, which is expected by the international community and demanded by our citizens.
(The author is the President of Brazil.)