In India, Lula and 100 Businessmen Sell Brazil as Land of Opportunity

Brazilian president Lula and Indian premier Singh Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived Sunday morning, June 3,  in New Delhi on a three-day state visit intended to strengthen strategic and economic ties between India and Brazil. Both leaders are expected to discuss, among other matters, multilateral trade talks, climate change and UN reforms.

Lula da Silva flew to India from London with around 100 businessmen, ministers and senior officials in what is being termed as the Brazilian President's "most important visit" this year, to underline the growing ties between the two countries.

With India and Brazil making it to the exclusive club of trillion dollar economies, Lula's visit will focus on promoting more business and investment between the two countries. India and Brazil also share a first level role in the WTO Doha Round negotiations.

The launch of a CEOs forum on Monday, comprising 15 top corporate leaders from each side, is the key highlight of Lula's visit to India. The Indian side will be led by steel tycoon Ratan Tata and the Brazilian side by Petrobras boss José Sergio Gabrielli.

Lula will also hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide array of bilateral, regional and global issues on Monday and interact with the newly launched India-Brazil CEOs forum.

A long list of agreements to boost economic, energy (between India's oil major ONGC Videsh Limited and Petrobras), space, defense and cultural cooperation, including an extradition treaty, are expected to be signed by the two leaders.

Singh is also likely to seek Brazil's support, an influential member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, for global civil nuclear cooperation.

During Manmohan Singh's visit to Brasilia in September last year, Lula had acknowledged India's growing need for energy, but indicated that his country will take a stand in the NSG only after India and the US finalize a bilateral civil nuclear agreement.

Brazil's emergence as an agricultural superpower and its status as the world leader in ethanol, a byproduct of sugarcane, is added attraction for India to deepen its multi-faceted ties with this Latin American powerhouse.

Quadrupling bilateral trade to US$ 10 billion by 2010 and promoting Brazilian investment in India's expanding infrastructure are focus areas of Lula's economic diplomacy in India.

Lula will also meet President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling coalition, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani, and discuss with them a range of bilateral and global issues.

The Brazilian president will address top business leaders of India at an interactive function Monday afternoon where he is expected to pitch Brazil as the land of opportunity for Indian business and seek more Indian participation in the burgeoning IT sector in his country.

Brazil and India are identified as belonging to the so called BRIC group, (Brazil, India, Russia and China) whose economies are rapidly developing and by the year 2050 are forecasted to eclipse most of the current richest countries of the world.



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