India’s 71st Republic Day Chief Guest – Jair Bolsonaro

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro would be India’s chief guest on its 71st Republic Day.

Bolsonaro would be the third Brazilian head of state to attend Republic Day celebrations in India.

Bolsonaro received the invitation in November itself after an informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bolsonaro on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. However, Unlike his former counterparts the invite  miffed many including activists, journalists and social media users.

And perhaps they have good reason to be alarmed as Bolsonaro hardly inspires confidence. The far-right leader came to power in January 2019 after his Alliance for Brazil party defeated the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) in an upset that set off a chain of protests for and against his victory.

While his supporters see Bolsonaro as the man who will deliver Brazil’s dwindling economy from its worst-ever recession and unemployment crisis in a century, his detractors have been vocal in reminding the world of the various other shades of the leader – sexism, misogyny, homophobia, hyper masculinity and aggression, climate-change denial and a rigid disdain for the rights of indigenous people.

He will begin his four day visit to India, primarily as chief guest on Republic Day and also to explore ways to boost trade ties at a time both the large economies are hit by slowdowns.

On his first visit to India after assuming power, Bolsonaro will be accompanied by seven ministers, top officials and a large business delegation.

On Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind will hold talks with Bolsonaro and will also host a banquet for him. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also call on Bolsonaro.

On 21 January, Bolsonaro will address a group of Indian and Brazilian business leaders at the India-Brazil Business Forum, according to the MEA.

India-Brazil ties have been on an upswing in the last few years.

The volume of bilateral trade was $8.2 billion in 2018-19. This included $3.8 billion worth of Indian exports to Brazil and $4.4 million as imports by India. Both the governments feel there is a huge potential to enhance the bilateral trade further.

Major Indian exports to Brazil include agro-chemicals, synthetic yarns, auto components and parts, pharmaceuticals and petroleum products. Brazilian exports to India include crude oil, gold, vegetable oil, sugar and bulk mineral and ores.

Indian investments in Brazil were around $6 billion and Brazilian investments in India are estimated at $1 billion in 2018.

Brazilian investments in India are mainly in automobiles, IT, mining, energy and biofuels sectors. India has invested in Brazil’s IT, pharmaceutical, energy, agri-business, mining and engineering sectors.