Govt may invite Brazil President as chief guest for 2020 R-Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro. (File/Twitter/@PMOIndia)

The government is considering inviting Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations in 2020, sources have told The Indian Express. They said the proposal is being explored and may take final shape.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Bolsonaro next week when he visits Brasilia for the annual BRICS summit on November 13 and 14.

Bolsonaro, widely seen as a far-right firebrand and a political outsider, was sworn in as the 38th president of Latin America’s largest democracy early this year. If he is invited, this will be the third time a Brazilian President will be chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, after Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996 and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2004.

During his visit to Brazil, the Prime Minister will also hold a bilateral meeting with Bolsonaro. This will be the Prime Minister’s second visit to Brazil.

New Delhi has been weaving strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guests for the Republic Day. The choice of chief guest every year is dictated by a number of reasons — strategic and diplomatic, business interests and geopolitics.

This year, after the invitation to US President Donald Trump did not work out, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was invited as the chief guest. Ten leaders from ASEAN countries were invited in 2018.

Prior to that, then US president Barack Obama attended it in 2015, French President Francois Hollande in 2016 and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2017.

Modi and Bolsonaro have met a few times this year, including on the sidelines of the G-20 summit and the recently-concluded Future Investment Initiative business forum in Riyadh.

Bolsonaro had congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latter’s re-election in May 2019. When they met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on 29 June 2019, key issues of bilateral importance were discussed during the meetings.

Officials said India and Brazil share a very close and multifaceted relationship at the bilateral level as well as in plurilateral fora such as BRICS, BASIC, G-20, G-4, IBSA, International Solar Alliance, Biofuture Platform and in the larger multilateral bodies such as the UN, WTO, UNESCO and WIPO.