Newsletter, Novembro, November, 2013

India-Brazil Relations: Requiting a New Paradigm of Cooperation in the 21st Century !

"Education, as in Higher Education, is a fertile area for cooperation and a potent medium, through which, to comprehend and appreciate, another’s society and culture. Collaborative scholarship, through exchange of faculty and scholars, as also encouragement of joint research projects, through institutionalized arrangements between peer institutions and agencies, in either country, could trigger much vaunted indigenous critical mass of ideas, in an era, where knowledge is widely recognized as power."

by Dattesh D. Parulekar

Asst. Professor (International Relations), UGC Centre for Latin American and International Studies, Goa University, Goa, INDIA

"India and Brazil are two large countries with ethnically and socially diverse populaces, whose dynamic, emerging and pioneering societies, are harnessing and consummating, tectonic, political, economic and social transformation, which does not make them mere ‘powerhouses’, in their respective geographical and geopolitical spheres of presence and influence, but veritable cornerstones of the global multilateral order, with the potential to mould the global governance architecture, going forward. The historical landscape, of bilateral ties, is marked, by an empirical record of stunted cooperation and sporadic interchange, blighted in great measure, by a multitude of factors, ranging from yawning geographical detachment, to cultural and linguistic differences, and fundamentally divergent geostrategic perceptions and worldview, shaped by the geopolitical verities of the erstwhile Cold War epoch. Yet, relations in contemporary times, have witnessed, a discernible upswing, underpinned principally, by regular and closer political dialogue and interaction, burgeoning mutual commercial footprint, and an ever increasing diplomatic convergence on the global stage in respect of positions and perspectives on Global Commons and the portfolio of global governance issues. Notwithstanding the present trajectory of relations, which encompasses strategic exchange across multiple segments of mutually beneficent cooperation, there is an ever pressing need to expand the remit of equations, to incorporate dimensions, such as technology-transfer, educational linkages, meaningful cultural appreciation and expression, tourist excursions, etc, which would lend greater scope and content to bilateral ties and serve to consolidate the relationship in an enduring hue. New Delhi and Brasilia face quite similar domestic challenges, be they economic, social or technological, and can through greater synergy in science and technology, through joint development and collaborative operationalization, can offer viable solutions to many seemingly intractable problems in society, from poverty alleviation to bettering the quality of human resource and even appropriating natural resources for national development, among others. Brazil’s pioneering role in ethanol is one such example in consummating the goal of ‘Energy Security’, just as India’s internally acclaim for niche in software applications and trailblazing generic drugs and allied pharma-products, facilitates self-reliant empowerment. In similar vein, Education, as in Higher Education, is a fertile area for cooperation and a potent medium, through which, to comprehend and appreciate, another’s society and culture. Collaborative scholarship, through exchange of faculty and scholars, as also encouragement of joint research projects, through institutionalized arrangements between peer institutions and agencies, in either country, could trigger much vaunted indigenous critical mass of ideas, in an era, where knowledge is widely recognized as power. This said, there is much fascination and intrigue for Indian culture, religion, philosophy, spiritualism and the ilk in Brazil, which needs to be tapped, through more proactive showcasing of India’s civilizational heritage and soft-power. The mechanism of a bilateral ‘Open Skies’ agreement should be seriously concluded to encourage air links, which would facilitate people-to-people thoroughfare, for a variety of reasons, from business to tourism, to cultural exchange, to educational visits, etc.In summary, the existential challenge before policymakers and stakeholders at either end, going forward, would be to expand and elevate this mutual relationship, from its cogent ‘B2B’ footing to an intimate ‘P2P’ equation, which will serve to forge societal interaction and interchange, leading to creation and consolidation of a composite and full-spectrum relationship, which these two nations deserve and is in their enlightened self-interest.

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