President Patil lauds Lula da Silva's zero-hunger programme

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Brasilia, Apr 16 : Calling for furthering broad base ties and strengthening partnership between India and Brazil, President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday lauded the Zero Hunger programme launched by her Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva.

"Our cultures are characterised by a tradition of tolerance and ethnic diversity. Our shared values provide a strong foundation to our growing ties. We are thus, natural partners who share great similarities of views on many of the important global issues," said President Patil while giving speech at the banquet hosted by Lula da Silva.

She went on to say that an early ratification of the India-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement would definitely facilitate the strengthening of economic and commercial linkages between the two countries.

"Opportunities beckon in other areas of endeavour, including agriculture, food processing, defence, energy, space, science and technology, agricultural research, education and culture," said President Patil.

She also called for collaboration in the aviation sector. "We should encourage our air carries to tap into the growing and lucrative civil aviation market," President Patil said.

Talking about the bilateral trade, she said that its turnover in 2007 was 3.12 billion dollar. "Our target is to achieve the level of 10 billion dollar by 2010," she added.

"Intense activity in the market place has led to the forging of close cooperation between ONGC Videsh Limited and Petrobas, expanding operations of Indian IT and pharmaceutical majors in Brazil and the establishment of the world's largest bus body plant by Marcopolo in Karnataka," said President Patil.

Emphasising upon reform in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), she said: "It needs to be expedited in order to make the council more democratic and reflective of contemporary reality."

"India and Brazil, which are already working in close cooperation within the framework of IBSA (India Brazil South Africa) have the potential to" bridge the gap between the developed and developing countries, the President said.

"Both the countries also have the potential to act as catalysts for taking South-South Cooperation to greater heights," she said. By Ravinder Singh Robin

ANI

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