New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Act is India’s “internal matter” and the Narendra Modi government will deal with it in a “very interesting way”, Brazilian Ambassador to India André Aranha Corrêa do Lago said.
“I believe this is an internal issue,” the ambassador told ThePrint in an interview. “This is a new phase, an issue that has been discussed for many years and I believe through its (India’s) totally recognised and admired democratic process this is going to be dealt with inside of India, as we are seeing, in a very interesting way that we are observing.”
The Brazilian envoy added that India has always been a “cause of admiration” around the world for having a diverse race of many cultures and religions.
On the issue of Kashmir and the ongoing communication restrictions in the newly-formed union territory, Lago reiterated that Brasilia considers the issue as one of India’s “internal questions”.
“I think this is an internal question. The Indian government is very clearly saying this is a phase through which this new chapter has to go through. We are observing it with great interest and we understand how complex the issue is,” he added.
The Ambassador spoke to ThePrint ahead of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s state visit to India on 25 January. Bolsonaro is the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
During his maiden visit to India, Bolsonaro will be accompanied by a high-powered business delegation across all verticals from energy to defence. Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque is also visiting India before Bolsonaro lands here.
Brazil, India likely to strike deal on oil imports
The Ambassador said there is a likelihood that India and Brazil may reach an agreement on crude oil imports as New Delhi explores alternatives to sanctions-hit Venezuela and under-fire Iran.
“We are becoming an important exporter of crude. Crude oil is already the number one item that Brazil exports to India,” Lago said. “Maybe we can reach an agreement about how strategic this position Brazil can have.”
During the upcoming visit, both India and Brazil may announce their intention to launch negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between them. “We have to really strengthen the bilateral. I believe in this trip we will … We have to be open to anything,” Lago said.
The two countries are, however, engaged in a bitter competition in a bid to be the leader of sugar production. Brazil had last year dragged India to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Delhi’s sugar subsidies.
“On the question of sugar, our two countries are number one and number two producers in the world,” Lago said. “We believe that if India strengthens its already strong commitment to bio-energy, we could have much balanced and favourable policies regarding sugar. So it’s a question of really having the dialogue.”