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Brazil President Visits India to Boost Trade Ties


Brazil's President and a delegation of more than 100 Brazilian business executives are in India to boost trade ties. As VOA's Steve Herman reports from New Delhi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, says the two countries should use their rapidly increasing clout to exert more influence over world economics and politics.

Brazil's president, says his trip to India is his most important foreign visit of the year.

The three-day state visit comes as Brazil and India have both become trillion dollar economies. After Mr. da Silva met Monday with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, the two leaders witnessed their trade officials sign a number of economic cooperation agreements, including one giving Brazil's Petrobras a share of three oil exploration blocks on India's eastern coast.

The burgeoning relationship between the two countries goes beyond business. Speaking to corporate leaders here, Mr. da Silva called on India to join Brazil to use their combined clout to lead the G20 alliance of developing nations.

He says the time has passed for either India or Brazil to use physical distance to justify disinterest. He added that the United States and the European Union could no longer negotiate agreements with the developing world unless they contend with India and Brazil.

The two nations are key players in the stalled Doha Round of world trade talks - putting up a formidable barrier to positions being advanced by the U.S. and European Union.

India and Brazil also advocate restructuring the United Nations Security Council with both countries saying they deserve a permanent seat at that table.

This visit's focus is on trade however, and India's minister of state for external affairs, Anand Sharma, announced that chief executive officers have pledged to quadruple the value of Indian-Brazilian commerce by 2010.

"The leaders have sent the benchmark of raising the economic cooperation or trade to $10 billion," he said. "And the CEO's have assured that they accept the challenge and perhaps would like to exceed that. "

India hopes to take advantage of technology Brazil has acquired as an agriculture superpower while Brazil desires Indian know-how in the pharmaceutical sector.

India, with dire energy requirements, hopes to make up for some of its shortfalls by tapping Brazilian uranium reserves - the world's largest - and the South American nation's bio-fuels capacity.