[op-ed snap] What does Brazil’s new president-elect hold for India, China and the future of BRICS?


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Esurption of right-wing across the globe and its impact


Leadership change in Brazil

  1. A far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been declared the winner of Brazil’s presidential election
  2. His election, however, sent alarm bells ringing among certain sections of Brazilian society, especially minorities
  3. During his election campaign, he made several remarks that were deemed misogynist, racist and homophobic
  4. He criticised descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves, implying that they were lazy

Implication on global geopolitics

  1. Brazil is the most populous nation in South America and the world’s eight-largest economy
  2. Bolsonaro’s ascent as the country’s president therefore also has global implications
  3. Following his election, it is being speculated that the leader – who is inexperienced in matters of foreign affairs and trade – will follow a radically different foreign policy from that of his predecessors, as this is what he emphasised during his campaign
  4. His presidency is expected to bring about a dramatic shift in relations with India and China as well as the power politics of BRICS
  5. Bolsonaro, who is being referred to in the international media as the Trump of the Tropics, is not likely to be as involved with BRICS as his predecessors were

What should India expect?

  1. Brazil is one of India’s most important trading partners in the entire Latin America and Caribbean region
  2. Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 35% in 2017
  3. As in India, agriculture is the strength of the Brazilian economy
  4. Both countries are therefore competitive in similar areas of agriculture. Brazil is projected to be the largest beef exporter in the world in 2018 followed by India, Australia and the United States
  5. Brazil also is the leading exporter of chicken meat
  6. This is likely to influence commercial relations between India and Brazil during Bolsonaro’s term
  7. The president-elect is a strong proponent of agribusiness – one of the pillars of his political platform – and has called for a new, pro-business approach in this sector

Changes proposed and their possible effects

  1. The merger of the Ministry of Agriculture with that of the Environment Ministry, proposed by Bolsonaro, could change the supply curve for several commodities, especially beef and soybeans
  2. Bolsonaro’s promises to drastically roll back environmental regulations for agriculture, including speeding up deforestation, converting forests into range and cropland could dramatically affect agribusiness globally, including in India
  3. This means opportunities to enhance bilateral investments in agribusiness between India and Brazil could be difficult in the future, and rebalancing agribusiness with other sectors will probably not be easy
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments