Page 2 of 2 SPEAKING FREELY Brazil-India partnership would be win-win
By Abhismita Sen
Science and Technology: The Ministry of Science and Technology in India is also strongly focused on South-South cooperation, by promoting international initiatives to empower other developing countries. India currently has 73 bilateral cooperation agreements with Brazil, and uses a range of instruments in its collaborations, including exploratory scientific missions, workshops, joint research projects and development centers, and advanced training fellowships. Science and technology missions involving both the countries can be a great
idea. Research centers can be opened up in India with experts from Brazil.
Health: Shared health concerns are reflected in the prioritization of Indiaís governmental collaboration programs with Brazil, where the focus seems to be heavily on communicable diseases like HIV/Aids and cholera. India-Brazil cooperation and medical biotechnology has had a promising start, with some very encouraging results in hand. However, in terms of precise product development, there is much more to be desired.
Information Technology: India has been blessed with a booming IT sector, and tie-ups in this sector can be mutually beneficial to both the countries and enhance employment opportunities for millions. India has yet to sign a full free trade agreement in services with Brazil, which would further boost IT diplomacy.
Tourism: Although Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo were among the most visited cities by international tourists, Brazilís ground transport infrastructure remains underdeveloped. India should urge its private stakeholders to invest in the development of tourism-based collaborations with Brazil and improve infrastructure there, as it would provide a great market for adventurous Indians and bring in revenues for both countries.
Natural Resources: The largest river in Brazil, and one of the longest in the world, is the Amazon, and the Amazon Basin constitutes almost half of the rain forest in the world. Brazil is also rich in natural resources. By gaining the confidence of the region, India has plenty of scope to tap these resources. Many Indian companies have already started doing just that, but most of those companies are multinational in character, with the dividends often appropriated by foreign stakeholders.
Disaster Management: It is time for India and Brazil to collaborate with countries like Japan, with its experience in disaster management. Thus both nations can minimize losses incurred through natural disasters, which India in particular is very prone to.
Sports and Culture: Brazil is going to host the 2014 soccer World Cup as well as the 2016 Olympics, which will open doors to large-scale foreign direct investment in Latin America. Brazil has made some tremendous strides in sports, specially football. India can obviously collaborate on this front with joint sport leagues and exchanges of coaches.
Recreation: Many Brazilian artists have already made successful entries in Bollywood, but Indians are scarce in the Latin American entertainment industry, which is still lagging behind its true potential due to a lack of effective investment. The production of reality shows and other entertainment projects based on the collaboration of the two countries will bring both culturally closer and give a break to thousands of talents.
Inclusive Development: The system of quotas in education and employment is a unique feature of Indian governance, which has uplifted thousands of people, who might not have otherwise had access to a decent living.
Brazil can also benefit from such a system for its development. In fact, it recently set aside a quota of 12.5% of its university places for black and indigenous students. The success of this program could inspire other Latin American countries to take up similar initiatives. Indian and Brazilian scholars can together research and combat uneven distribution of income. Encouraging cross-country, small-scale initiatives like handicrafts has the potential to employ millions.
2014 will see many changes in Indiaís neighborhood, with American troops withdrawing from Afghanistan and Myanmar continuing its regime change. India also has general elections in the next few weeks. The moment is right for a new government to frame wise foreign-policy choices, which should include increased cooperation with Brazil.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.Please click hereif you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Abhismita Sen is a postgraduate student of the Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University, India, and is interning with the Think Tank and Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania.