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We have to take bold decisions: PM

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Brasilia
Last updated on: September 14, 2006 11:02 IST
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The first-ever summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum began on Tuesday in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, with the leaders of the three countries stressing the need to empower millions of people living in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Thabo Mbeki discussed issues ranging from technological cooperation to improving air linkages among the three nations.

Addressing the summit, Dr Singh said: "The IBSA needs to pursue with determination the target of $10 billion in intra-IBSA trade that was set in New Delhi in June 2003."

"It was just three years ago that our three democracies decided to come together, linking three great continents. The success of our experiment will empower millions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America," he added.

"Trade and tourism between the three nations have not yet reached its full potential," the prime minister said. "We have to take bold decisions to make things work."

"South Africa has coal gasification technology and a well developed synthetic industry while Brazil is a world leader in the use of ethanol. India, on the other hand, has expertise in wind and solar energy. IBSA can effectively utilise our respective competitive strengths to come up with alternative technologies," Dr Singh observed.

South African President Mbeki felt "The IBSA can change the lives of our people for the better and erode poverty."

"And going by the number of delegates attending the meeting, it can be said that the initiative has been a success," he added.

India and Brazil on Tuesday signed nine agreements ranging from scientific and technological cooperation to enhancing air services between the two nations. A memorandum of understanding between the Brazilian company Petrobras and ONGC-OVL was also inked.

As part of the process of stepping up economic ties, ONGC Videsh acquired a 15% stake by investing $410 million in an offshore block in south-east Brazil in April. GAIL and Petrobras signed a cooperation and confidentiality agreement on June 21.

The next IBSA summit will be held in South Africa.

Dr Singh will leave for Cuba on Thursday to attend the Non Aligned Movement summit in Havana.
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Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Brasilia