On Thursday, Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro made a dramatic announcement. He announced that the South American country would offer visa-free travel to visitors from India and China coming to Brazil for tourism and business. The Indian Express has reported this news.

The Brazilian leader made the announcement after meeting with business leaders in China. Brazil, along with India and China, is a member of the group of countries called BRICKS. This block is trying to make its presence felt in the world by closer economic cooperation. During the last meeting of the heads of state, a Bricks Bank was also set up with an Indian being given the presidentship.

Bolsonaro's outreach

The outreach of president Bolsonaro has been highlighted in the local press. Generally, people in Brazil have praised the decision of the president. The Indian Express has reported that many in Brazil have referred to this decision of Bolsonaro as an important change of attitude. During his election campaign, the president had gone around saying that "China is not buying from Brazil but is buying Brazil."

Hard economic facts are behind the announcement. Brazil is in some financial problems, and it hopes that tourism from two of the world's largest nations, China and India, will help bolster the economy. The president announced without waiting for any reciprocity from India or China.

Brazil first waived the visa requirement for tourists from Japan, Australia, the USA, and Canada on June 17 this year. Citizens from these countries do not need a visa to enter Brazil for 90 days. This can be extended by another 90 days. The official Brazilian website has reported that tourist traffic to Brazil from these countries went up by 25% compared to 2018.

India today has reported that Indians will now have visa-free Travel to Brazil.

Visa-free travel

In the UN general assembly speech in September this year, the president had announced that he is considering a similar scheme for India and China. It is a fact of life that countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Dubai thrive on tourism from India.

The president aims to divert part of the new rich Indians for tourism to Brazil to bolster the economy. There has been no reciprocity of this from India and China, but there is every likelihood that India will also give visa-free travel to people from Brazil to India. China, we must remember, is a communist country, and it rarely provides visa-free travel for everybody. It is a closed society, and the Chinese Communist party wishes to ensure that China remains closed to foreign influence, but millions of Chinese travel abroad. China, with the second-biggest economy in the world, can help bolster the economy of Brazil through tourism.

Vary of China

The president and Indian prime minister Modi get along well together.

Modi, with a burgeoning Indian economy, is looking for ways and means to exert Indian presence all over the world. In a first, he visited countries like Mongolia, Bhutan, and African Nations to spread the Indian flag. Brazil, India, is also trying to develop a close economic relationship with Brazil. Given a choice between China aspiring to be the number one power and India, Brazil probably would prefer India as a partner. One reason for this is the Chinese record of giving low-interest loans and then and as a bargain taking control of portions of the country like they have done in Sri Lanka and the Gwadar port in Pakistan.

Last word

All the same, this is welcome news for Indian tourists, but there is an urgent need to connect major Brazilian cities directly to Mumbai and Delhi by air. Presently one has to travel through Paris or London. Perhaps this would be the next step.