New Delhi, Feb 16: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will begin a week-long tour to Brazil and South Africa from today to strengthen political and economic ties between India and the two countries.
During his visit, issues relating to the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) dialogue will be discussed ahead of the next summit, which is scheduled for later this year. Several bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during Mukherjee's visit. On the first leg of his six-day tour, Mukherjee will visit Brazil capital Brazilia for three days to review the progress made in the bilateral relationship.
Leaders of both countries will also held discussions on several issues, including cooperation in the fields of agriculture, human resources development, science and technology, and renewable and non-renewable energy.
Further, cooperation in sports is also expected to be taken up, particularly on the roping in of football coaches from Brazil. In the past, Brazil and India have been coordinating on several international issues, including UN reforms and the WTO, and bilateral and under multilateral frameworks like IBSA and G-20.
Bilateral trade with Brazil crossed the three billion dollar mark last year. Mukherjee will also undertake a two-day visit to South Africa from February 21.
India and South Africa will hold a Joint Commission meeting after nearly three years. During the meeting, talks will be held on several issues of mutual importance.
The two sides will sign four agreements during Mukherjee's visit, viz. an agreement on visa-free travel by the holders of diplomatic and official passports, and agreements in areas of customs, agriculture and science and technology.