Brazil,14 Apr:"I am very happy to be in Brazil as I undertake my first overseas visit as the President of the Republic of India. It is only fitting that the visit to Brazil should begin from the large metropolis of Sao Paulo which enjoys the honour of being the economic and commercial capital of Brazil. Also, I am pleased that my first engagement overseas is an interaction with the Indian community.
Both India and Brazil are large democracies and major countries in their respective regions. The emergence of our two countries as leading players in the global arena has been propelled by their large and qualified manpower resources, big land mass, vibrant trillion dollar economies and the spirit of entrepreneurship that permeates our societies. Our warm and friendly ties have been bolstered by our shared perceptions and endeavours.
The friendship between India and Brazil goes back in time. The Portuguese presence in Goa as well as in Brazil, during the 17th and 18th centuries, provided a common historical bond which facilitated interaction at the popular level. This is reflected in the food, linguistic vocabulary and the folk music traditions of our two countries. India and Brazil share folk traditions such as the stories of Panchatantra, and Poikal Kudhirai of Southern India and Boi-Bumba of Northern Brazil. Indian philosophy has influenced Brazilian intellectual tradition and is reflected in the works of philosophers such as Farias Brito, and poets Cruz e Souza and Cecilia Meireles.
Sao Paulo is unique as it has the world’s only university of Yoga. The footprint of Yoga schools is visible all over Brazil. It is also interesting that two Brazilian floats participated in Goa’s Carnival this year depicting Portuguese exploration of Brazil.
I am also told that nearly 80% of Brazilian cattle stock derives its origin from India’s Nellore variety, which is known in Brazil as Zebu. The year 2006 marked the 100th anniversary of the import of first cow from India into North-East Brazil.
I understand that the Indian community in Brazil, though limited in numbers, has done well. Sao Paulo remains the favourite destination of the Indian community. I appreciate your contributions and I am happy that you have made India proud. You are not only our Ambassadors in a distant country but are also contributing to the building of bridges of understanding between the two countries.
Most of you have not only been able to assimilate yourselves in the Brazilian way of life but are also maintaining close cultural and economic connection with India. It is important that you provide a place in your lives and hearts to both the country of your origin as well as the country of adoption.
The Indian Diaspora estimated at about 25 million is emerging as a major economic, social and cultural force. In recognition of this, the Government of India every year celebrates the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in order to honour and acknowledge the contributions made by the overseas Indian community. We have established an Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, which can be your window to invest in and benefit from India. Work has begun on establishing a "Diaspora Knowledge Network" – an electronic platform to facilitate transformation of ideas into community action in India. An "India Development Foundation" is also on the anvil which would allow you to contribute to social development causes in India.
I wish you success in your endeavours and seek your continued contribution to the development of India-Brazil relations."