New Delhi: With an aim to strengthen strategic ties between India and Brazil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro on Saturday held wide-ranging talks. The two leader also discussed ways to boost bilateral ties in key areas of trade and investment, energy, defence and security, medicine and scientific research. They also signed 15 agreements in various fields like oil and gas, mining and cyber security.

The President, who is the Chief Guest in Sunday’s Republic Day celebrations, reached Delhi on Friday on a four-day visit. He has been accompanied by a high-level delegation including Ministers and senior officials.

“Tomorrow at the Republic Day parade on Rajpath, you will witness the diversity of India. Brazil is also a country that celebrates many festivals with fervour. I thank you (President of Brazil) for accepting the invitation of India”, said Prime Minister Modi.

On his part Bolsonaro said the two countries have further consolidated already strong ties by signing 15 agreements providing for cooperation in a range of areas.

Earlier in the day, the Brazilian President was given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan  after which he said that he would use this visit as an opportunity for strengthening bilateral relations.

Following the ceremonial welcome, Bolsonaro had said,”I am very excited to be here in India and to take part in the national Republic Day. We will use this opportunity to be close to India and the bilateral ties will be substantially boosted by this visit. After all, our great nations share a great deal in common. We rank amongst the 10 largest economies of the world. Our two nations will grow more after this important state visit.”

Bolsonaro also called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. After the meeting, Jaishankar said that Bolsonaro’s visit will open “new opportunities” for bilateral cooperation. “Pleased to welcome the Chief Guest for Republic Day 2020 President of Brazil. His visit will open new opportunities for our bilateral cooperation. It also symbolises the global rebalancing underway,” the foreign minster asserted.

India’s ties with Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, have been on an upswing in the last few years. The country has a population of 210 million with a $1.8 trillion economy. The volume of bilateral trade between India and Brazil was $8.2 billion in 2018-19. This included $3.8 billion worth of Indian exports to Brazil and $4.4 million as imports by India.