The Brazilian Ambassador to India, Mr. Carlos Duarte, delivered the inaugural address to a symposium on Brazil conducted by the Centre for European and Latin American Studies in collaboration with the Academy Of International Studies. The symposium titled “Understanding Contemporary Brazil” was held at the Dayar-I-Mir-Taqi-Mir building on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2012.
In his address, Ambassador Duarte said that it was “a pleasure to see an interest in Brazilian studies in India.” He pointed out that both India and Brazil are working together to resolve problems of developing countries; and both India and Brazil are members of BRICS, an association of leading emerging economies. They are also two of the largest developing countries in the world, he said.
In his presentation, Duarte mentioned that with Brazil being the sixth largest economy and with unemployment steadily declining, the country is doing better than ever before with an average growth rate as high as 4.5 percent. In regard to the Indo-Brazilian relations, bilateral trade has grown significantly in the past, he said. “Both countries,” he said “have discovered each other in trade.” To support his claim, he gave the example of Marcopolo-Tata joint-venture which has been supplying Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) with buses to run in the metropolitan city since prior to the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
He also added, “we see both the countries coming together”; thus hinting towards the growing Indo-Brazilian relations, and the vital role they play in the new international order. However he said, despite the recent strengthening of bilateral relations, both countries still know very little about each other and thus there is a greater need for further interaction.
At one particular moment in the Q&A round after the presentation, the Ambassador was caught off guard when he was asked a few pointed questions by one of the students in the audience. The student asked him about the displacement of indigenous people and the government’s war on the people living in shanty towns of Brazil called favelas. To this the Ambassador said that he was not aware of any “war on the favelas.” But then he added that the Brazilian government is trying to “formally include the favelas in the economy” and is utilizing a “non-confrontational” approach by using social reforms to better the conditions of the favelas.
Other speakers present at the symposium were Dr. Georg Wink from the Institute of Latin American Studies, Freie University, Berlin; Prof. Mohammed Gulrez, Director of the Centre for South African and Brazilian Studies, Aligarh Muslim University; and S. Abdul Baseer, a research student from the Centre for European and Latin American Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia.