Lula courts China, Russia, India
BY RAJESH MAHAPATRA
NEW DELHI - Brazil's president Tuesday said his country is pushing
for closer ties with India, South Africa, China and Russia to counter what
American "hegemony in international relations.''
Winding up a four-day trip to India, Luiz Inácio Lula
da Silva said he hoped to form an alliance with China and Russia similar
to what Brazil already had
forged with India and South Africa to cooperate on issues of international importance.
''I am quite optimistic about the relations we are promoting with China and Russia,'' he said.
Last year, Brazil and India led a bloc of nations, including
China and South Africa, that stood up to the United States and Europe at
Organization talks in Mexico, blocking a proposal on farm trade.
While the European Union and the United States had pressed for
tariff reductions, poor nations demanded that rich countries stop giving
billions of dollars in subsidies.
Lula da Silva said that the collapse of the WTO talks proved poorer nations were organizing successfully to protect their own interests.
He said the spirit of partnership underlined India's growing
relations with Latin America. Lula da Silva was the chief guest at India's
During Lula da Silva's visit, India signed a preferential trade
agreement with the Latin American trading bloc, Mercosur, comprising Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay.
The pact could eventually lead to a free-trade arrangement.
Lula da Silva also suggested expanding air routes between India and Brazil.
Bilateral trade, which now stands at $1.2 billion, is projected
to reach $5 billion by 2005, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers
of Commerce and
Industry, a grouping of top Indian industry representatives.