Books and MonographsPublished on Aug 08, 2022 PDF Download
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India and Brazil in the Global Multilateral Order


Harsh V Pant and Almir Lima Nascimento (Eds.), India and Brazil in the Global Multilateral Order, August 2022, Observer Research Foundation and Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation..


India and Brazil are celebrating 74 years of diplomatic relations in 2022. In more recent years, the two countries have elevated their relationship based on a common global vision, commitment to development, and shared democratic values. They established a strategic partnership in 2006, and sought to deepen it in 2020 by agreeing to an Action Plan to Strengthen the Strategic Partnership. Today the two countries work together in various international forums, including platforms such as BRICS, IBSA, G4, G20, BASIC, as well as the United Nations in the wider multilateral context; they engage in summit meetings, high-level visits, and exchanges. Trade and investment between them have grown over the years, as has cooperation in important areas such as bioenergy.

As the two countries navigate a world in flux, their complementarities and shared perceptions of multipolarity provide a unique opportunity to explore avenues for greater cooperation. As India celebrates 75 years of independence and Brazil marks its 200th, this report by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Fundação Alexandre de Gusmão (FUNAG) offers Indian and Brazilian perspectives on some of the most important issues around multilateral forums that impact both countries and their bilateral relationship. Both countries have a long and robust tradition of engaging in forums in which they have often developed strong and enduring partnerships. Greater knowledge of each other’s actions would allow potential interactions and promote both countries’ interests.

The report consists of three essays written by Indian authors, and three others by Brazilian authors. The pieces centre on the following themes: the World Trade Organization (WTO); UN peacekeeping operations; and UN Security Council reforms. Each of them outlines a brief history of India’s and Brazil’s performance in the domain, analyses the current situation, and explores the prospects for cooperation between the two nations.

In the first section on the WTO, Lia Valls Pereira provides a Brazilian perspective on the multilateral trading system and ponders possibilities in partnerships with India. She highlights how Brazil and India share a common interest in strengthening the WTO. Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, in his chapter, explores the current status of global trade recovery and discusses the ongoing stalemate at the WTO. He explores pathways for Indo-Brazilian cooperation on multilateral trade issues, underlining their shared world views and democratic values.

The second section presents prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the area of UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKOs). Kartik Bommakanti discusses the significance of UNPKOs to the UN’s collective security system and provides a comparative analysis of India’s and Brazil’s contributions to current peacekeeping missions. He explores possibilities for cooperation between India and Brazil, outlining how both countries could benefit by learning from each side’s strengths. While discussing Brazil’s viewpoint on UNPKOs, Danilo Marcondes gives a historical account of the country’s contributions to peacekeeping missions. He notes how the two countries can leverage their growing defence partnership further to cooperate on UNPKOs.

In the last section of the report, the authors examine prospects for India and Brazil’s cooperation in instituting reforms at the UN Security Council (UNSC). Marianna Albuquerque applies theoretical literature to discuss India’s and Brazil’s participation in the UNSC and details the current state of affairs. She outlines how the post-Cold War era of multipolarity has affected the legitimacy of the UNSC and offers policy-oriented suggestions for heightening Brazil and India’s cooperation at the Council. In the last chapter, Aarshi Tirkey describes India’s participation as a non-permanent member at the UNSC, discusses New Delhi’s initiatives for reforming the Council, and explores areas for future Indo-Brazilian cooperation.

This report brings together scholars from India and Brazil to articulate new perspectives that could assist policymakers in both countries in identifying new opportunities for collaboration. The analysts explore the possibilities for cooperation created by the rapid geopolitical changes taking place in the world, and look at how the two countries can build the foundation for playing new roles in the global stage.

– Harsh V Pant and Almir Lima Nascimento

I. The World Trade Organization

The Multilateral Trading System and Partnerships with India: A View from Brazil

Lia Valls Pereira 

The governance of the multilateral trading system is in crisis, and analysts often point to several events to illustrate this: the difficulties in advancing the negotiations proposed by the Doha Round; the blocking by the United States (US) of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism Appeals Committee; and the trade disputes between China and the US negotiated outside the World Trade Organization (WTO). Brazil and India were among the 23 founding members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which entered into force in January 1948. The two countries adopted similar policies to develop their economies based on an import substitution model. They also implemented trade liberalisation reforms in the 1990s.

The features of the development process of the two countries have helped build, on occasion, diverging positions throughout the history of multilateral negotiations. Regardless of these differences, however, India and Brazil share a common interest in strengthening the multilateral trading system.

Both Brazil and India often use the rules recognised by the multilateral trading system to defend themselves against measures they consider harmful to their interests. In the list of countries that have the most number of open investigations under WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, Brazil is in fourth place; India ranks first in the number of open anti-dumping investigations. Amidst geopolitical and technological transformations, as well as changes in the forms of organisation of production, multilateral governance is the only way to ensure some degree of balance on the rules between the different interests of the participants.

Indeed, the potential for conflict often makes the conduct of international relations difficult. Nonetheless, the most important aspect of the crisis in the multilateral trading system is related to the WTO’s lack of credibility in solving such conflicts and offering a framework of rules that responds to the demands of evolving geopolitical and economic scenarios. As Fonseca Jr. (2008) has observed, a system of multilateral rules presumes a balance between national interest and collective rule.

Brazil in the Multilateral Trading System[1]

Brazil’s share of world trade has historically been low. In 2021, Brazil’s share of world merchandise exports was 1.2 percent and of imports, 0.9 percent. The share of services in exports was 0.6 percent, and in imports, 1.0 percent. Nonetheless, Brazil has always been an active player in the multilateral trading system.

Beginning in 1947, Brazil’s participation in this system can be divided broadly into four periods, with the first covering the years 1947 to 1973. Negotiations were mainly about import tariff reductions of industrial products conducted by the developed economies as agricultural products were excluded from the negotiations. At the same time, the United States did not question the countries’ lack of adherence to GATT provisions, such as the quantitative restrictions associated with the import substitution model. The key concern was to consolidate political support from their less developed allies in the context of the Cold War.

The second period covers the years from 1973 to 1990. The oil crisis of 1973, the end of the system of fixed exchange rates with the dollar, the beginning of the rise of Japan in world trade, and the growth of labour-intensive export manufactures by some developing countries, such as Brazil, led to a change in the US position in the multilateral trading system. First, the issue of reciprocity was introduced in the trade negotiations of the Tokyo Round (1973 to 1979). The US demanded that developing countries contribute to the multilateral trade system as they graduate in terms of their economic development status. At the same time, developing countries were raising demands for a system that recognises that the commitments to GATT disciplines must consider the different levels of economic development of member states. The principle of Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) was included in the GATT rules; Brazil endorsed it.

In the beginning of the 1980s, the appreciation of the dollar—linked with the increase of interest rates in the United States—contributed to intensifying the trends already described. The increase in the trade deficit was presented by the US as a result of the lack of reciprocity for market access of its partners in world trade. Japan and the big developing countries, such as Brazil and India, were named the main “culprits”. The US agenda, however, was not limited to issues of market access. Negotiations about services, investments, and intellectual property rights were seen as drivers of the integration of global trade. In this sense, these new themes had to be included in the negotiations. The central issue was to ensure a scenario of harmonised rules to reduce the transaction costs of the new wave of globalisation.

A coalition of developing countries, called G-10 and led by Brazil and India, objected to the inclusion of these themes.[2] Brazil was not interested in negotiating new themes, rather in guaranteeing market access to improve its international reserves, amidst its external debt crisis. The Uruguay Round was launched in 1986. Brazil and India maintained their stance of blocking negotiations on new topics, but the coalition with other developing countries eventually lost strength as the talks progressed.

A third period covers the years 1990 to 2003. A new Brazilian government, which took office in 1990, launched a broad-based trade liberalisation programme. The main issue of the country’s trade agenda became the modernisation of the productive structure and the deepening of the country’s integration into the global economy. The negotiation of new themes would be part of this new agenda. Moreover, Brazil bounded all its import tariffs at WTO: 55 percent for agricultural products and 35 percent for industrial. The creation of the WTO and the dispute mechanism was supported by Brazil and seen as important initiatives for the consolidation of the multilateral trading system. The gains in the agricultural negotiations were far lower than expected, but the result was considered positive, as agriculture would now be under the multilateral discipline.

The WTO’s Doha Round, launched in 2001, was announced as the “Development Round” and the year 2003 marked a new phase in Brazil’s participation in the WTO. The proposal of the US and the European Union (EU) to liberalise the agricultural sector was considered inconsistent with the Doha mandate, from the point of view of a group of developing countries under the umbrella of the G-20. The group consisted of agricultural export countries like Brazil, which were interested in liberalising market access and agricultural imports, as well as those such as India which prioritised subsidy issues and impacts on their rural population. The G-20—led by Brazil, India and China— blocked the offer of the US and the EU. Consensus formation by the QUAD (United States, European Union, Japan and Canada) in WTO negotiations was no longer sufficient to ensure consensual results.

Analysts have observed that the G-20 was never seen as a permanent and cohesive group for multilateral negotiations. In 2008, when it appeared that the agricultural negotiations were going to be finalised, they again reached an impasse with the different positions of Brazil, China, and India. At the same time, the economic crisis of 2008 boosted the institutional and political formation of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China, and later BRICS, with the inclusion of South Africa in 2011), where the demand for the reform of multilateral institutions was a priority agenda.[3]

The crisis of the Doha Round does not mean the total paralysis of the WTO. In 2013, a Trade Facilitation agreement was reached under the tenure of the Brazilian Ambassador Rodrigo Azevedo as WTO Director-General. The difficulties to advance the Doha negotiations under the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause have led to the creation of plurilateral negotiation groups, such as: investment facilitation; services domestic regulation; trade facilitation for small and medium-sized enterprises; and electronic commerce. Brazil participates in all groups, which means that there is less resistance to participating in these types of negotiations; signing agreements of this type, however, is another matter.

Brazil, together with other 13 countries, has participated in the creation of a “Multi-party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement” to fulfil the role of the Appellate Body.[4] Brazil belongs to the Ottawa Group, a group of 13 like-minded countries in the WTO that launched the “Trade and Health Initiative” that emphasised the need to facilitate the trade and distribution of vaccines.[5]

Perspectives for Brazil-India Partnerships at the WTO

WTO governance is based on three pillars: negotiations, dispute settlement, and monitoring. Our premise is that the two countries agree on the importance and the need to strengthen the multilateral trading system. In this light, the main issue is related to the negotiations pillar and the dispute settlement mechanism. We assume that both countries agree on the permanence of decisions that have been reached by consensus.

It is difficult, however, to form a consensus with 164 members and assume that rules will be multilateral for countries with different interests and varying degrees of development. The MFN clause continues to be the WTO’s negotiating pillar, but plurilateral agreements should be encouraged to unlock the negotiations, especially in the case of novel themes. Plurilateral agreements have already been negotiated at the WTO. This does not mean the abandonment of the decision by consensus. For example, while India is a member of the Information Technology Agreement, Brazil is not. Brazil and India could still identify common interests that can be carried out in plurilateral or multilateral agreements.

On the table of trade negotiations, the agriculture sector continues to be a dividing factor between Brazil and India. This does not have to be the rule, as 2003 showed. A better understanding of the problems of the political economy of the agricultural sector in each country can help build common positions. Concerning the dispute settlement mechanism, Brazil and India must continue their dialogue to reach a consensus.

The two countries appear distant in their positions at the WTO, as in the case of the proposal to waive IPR requirements for Covid-19 vaccines. To be sure, different positions on specific issues are expected. Nonetheless, as this brief retrospect of Brazil’s role in GATT and WTO shows, the two countries share a common agenda and have largely acted together in pursuit of their shared goals. Permanent dialogue is the best channel to ensure that both countries continue to contribute to the strengthening of the multilateral trading system.


Gelson Fonseca Jr, O interesse e a regra – ensaios sobre o multilateralismo. (São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2008).

Lia Baker Valls Pereira, “Challenges for building a multilateral trading system in the 21st century”, in International Politics: reorientation of multilateralism, ed. Julia Dias Leite and Luciana Gama Muniz (Rio de Janeiro: Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais, 2021), 147-54.

Marcelo de Paiva Abreu, “Brazil, the GATT, and the WTO: history and prospects, Paper presented at the 25º Meeting of ANPOCS, 2001, 16-20.

India-Brazil Cooperation and the Future of WTO

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the international trade order had entered a turbulent phase with the sharpening of trade wars. The year 2018 turned out to be a watershed in the recent history of world trade development. A tariff war was initiated by the US, ostensibly to neutralise imports from China that could threaten “national security”. The real objective, however, was to curb competition from “cheap metal that is subsidised by foreign countries”—or what amounted to a dumping allegation.[6]

China retaliated by imposing a tariff on 128 American products worth US$ 3 billion in exports to China in 2017. What followed was a full-fledged trade war between these two nations.[7] Other trade conflicts, such as that between Japan and South Korea, were reignited in the aftermath. The international trade order, propelled by the WTO since 1995, was dented by this chain of events. The COVID-19 pandemic then broke out at the end of 2019.

Global Trade Revives, Unevenly

Total trade volume—in both merchandise and services trades—shows a more resilient recovery in 2021, compared to the period after the 2008-09 global financial crisis (see Figure 1). The recovery is driven primarily by merchandise trade, as trade in services continues to remain depressed.

Overall trade recovery shows the divergence in different regions of the world. While Asia leads the rebound growth in both exports and imports, West Asia, South America, and Africa have the weakest recoveries in exports. On the imports side, West Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, and Africa are likely to have the slowest recoveries. Regions with more oil-reliant export bases went through drastic declines in both merchandise exports and imports during the 2020 pandemic-induced recession. These regions are yet to come out of those shortfalls. South America’s comparatively better import recovery is partly the result of a low base effect, as some key economies were already in recession during 2019.[8]

Volumes in trade in goods and services showed a surge in the first half of 2021, but the growth rate started slowing down in the second half of the year. It is likely to further decelerate in 2022. Estimates by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)[9] hint in that direction (see Figure 2).

While China’s trade surplus increased in 2021, the US trade deficit widened. Most of the least developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries also experienced worsening trade deficit in 2021 (see Figure 3). This demonstrates the unevenness in global trade growth.

WTO in a Stalemate

Unilateral tariff imposition and other trade restrictions before the pandemic gave rise to trade tensions and undermined the international trade order nurtured by the WTO. Indeed, there has been extraordinary growth in all kinds of global trade since the inception of WTO in 1995. The organisation played an important role in facilitating tariff reduction and ease of trading across countries.

However, the fault lines started appearing in recent years. A prime example would be the gradual dismantling of the trade dispute settlement mechanism at the WTO. Years of US pressure have brought the international trade appeals system to a breaking point. In 2016, the Barack Obama administration decided to block the reappointment of a South Korean judge to the WTO’s appellate body. The succeeding Donald Trump government continued the position and intensified the blocking of appointments of judges in the body. As a result, the appellate body became defunct, as the tenures of two more judges expired and only one active judge remained by December 2019. Since the body’s inception, seven judges had served at any one time, and at least three of them are required to review new appeals. The Joe Biden administration continues to block the new appointments, and the appellate body remains paralysed.[10]

Successive US governments have repeatedly aired their scepticism and dissatisfaction about the dispute settlement mechanism at the WTO. The tendency of the appellate body towards establishing legally binding precedents, according to the US government, was an infringement on the country’s sovereignty. The dominant official view is that the dispute settlement mechanism has become “unwieldy and bureaucratic” over the years, and therefore unfair and obsolete. Although historically the US has won many cases at the WTO appellate body, the view that the system is unfair and detrimental to US interest found consensus across the domestic political spectrum. Government after government has emphasised on reforming the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, and there is a clear position that mere restoration of the appellate body would not be acceptable as a reform strategy.[11]

Though big economies, including the US, have reiterated their commitment to the WTO, trade wars and unilateral decisions on tariff and non-tariff restrictive measures have undermined the role of the WTO in recent times. This was preceded by the stalemate in the Doha Round of negotiations due to a lack of consensus on issues related to agricultural subsidies and information technology products.

The World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and WTO published a joint trade policy paper in September 2018, charting out directions for future international trade reforms. The paper said, in part: “(Trade) tensions are rooted in issues that have been left unresolved for too long. Governments need to promptly address outstanding questions involving, for example, the WTO dispute system and the reach of subsidy disciplines.”[12]

This was an acknowledgement of existing problems in the international trade order. The WB-IMF-WTO policy paper further said, “Reliance on an approach in which all members must agree on all issues risks driving negotiating activity outside the WTO. Agreeing among so many members, each with unique challenges and priorities, has proven difficult.” The paper made an argument to employ a “plurilateral” and “flexible” approach in negotiations within WTO on any issue where consensus does not emerge as “the practice of bundling negotiating issues together in a giant, all-or-nothing trade rounds have become extremely difficult to manage.”

The WTO is thus also aware of emerging trends in bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements. Attempts to incorporate such larger global sentiment within WTO is apparent, but they can jeopardise the multilateral character ingrained within the WTO.

India-Brazil Cooperation and Multilateralism 

Before the onset of the pandemic, the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) bloc reaffirmed its commitment toward a better, reformed global multilateralism at all international organisations, including the WTO, the UN, and G20, to achieve a more “inclusive and responsive” international governance architecture.[13] IBSA’s reiteration of the continued relevance of multilateralism came at a time when many nations were at loggerheads in various trade disputes. After the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, India and South Africa actively pushed for a waiver of vaccine patents at the WTO.[14] This is also one important multilateral endeavour to mitigate global vaccine inequity. In the near future, IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) for emerging pharmaceutical products required to combat COVID-19 will become a cornerstone of South-South cooperation at the WTO.

The basis, therefore, of India-Brazil cooperation in defence of multilateralism already exists. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s visit in 2020 on the occasion of India’s 71st Republic Day cemented that position. India and Brazil signed 15 agreements for cooperation in a range of mutually beneficial areas. Shared democratic values and convergence of world views provide the bulwark in this enduring bilateral relationship. In 2021, India became the fifth largest trading partner of Brazil. Bilateral trade value increased by 63 percent compared to 2020, exceeding US$ 11 billion.[15]

Multilateralism at the WTO has been severely dented in the last five years. The reluctance of the advanced economies in upholding multilateral values remains a persistent problem. Earlier, the BRICS played a stellar role in mobilising developing nations at the WTO, safeguarding their collective interest. However, China and Russia have become preoccupied with different kinds of trade and military wars. Therefore, blocs like IBSA have the potential to pursue the quest of developing countries to achieve a just international trading and political order, firmly based on the principles of multilateralism. A strong bilateral relationship between India and Brazil is one of the prerequisites for that goal.

II. U.N. Peacekeeping Operations

Brazil and India: Towards Synergy on UN Peacekeeping

Kartik Bommakanti

Peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the United Nations (UN) have been a longstanding Indian commitment to the principle of collective security that forms a pillar of the UN. It is also a humanitarian commitment and investment on the part of the Indian state. New Delhi sees its contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKOs) as a pathway to securing permanent membership in the UN Security Council (UNSC). Similarly, Brazil is another emerging power with significant contributions to UNPKOs and an aspirant for permanent membership in the UNSC. Yet, the two countries diverge in their approaches on UNPKOs. Can they forge a synergy?

India has made immense contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts since their inception. One analyst has referred to India as “the sword arm of the UN.”[16] However, this role is often underappreciated, even in India.[17] Historically, India’s focus has been on peace-building operations, rather than provision of troops,[18] laying the foundations for subsequent Indian contributions to modern peacekeeping. New Delhi has had to find a balance between two contradictory goals: sustaining support for the UN, and managing local resistance to Indian ground force deployments.[19] The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), for example, has met with frequent protests from local communities who view the UN troops as a violent occupation force.[20]

Since the inception of UNPKOs in 1948 and until 1987, New Delhi contributed to seven of the 13, making India one of the largest contributors to those operations.[21] In the immediate post-Cold War era, India continued to be an enthusiastic participant in these missions as it was during the Cold War. Its troop contributions peaked in 1994 with 7 percent or 5,159 of 73,393 personnel deployed to different conflicts around the world.[22]

Table 1 illustrates why India’s contributions to UNPKOs deserve attention in the context of current geopolitical realities. A large proportion of India’s contributions are in Africa. The two standouts that include the deployment of both military and police personnel are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and in South Sudan under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Under MONUSCO, India contributes 1,874 troops and 140 police personnel; and under UNMISS, New Delhi has deployed 2,390 military troops and 27 police personnel— by far the largest Indian contribution to the UN effort in South Sudan.

Other notable UN-related deployments by India are to UNIFIL in Lebanon (862 military personnel) and to UNDOF on the Golan (197 troops). At the time of writing this article, the count of Indian troops deployed to UNPKOs stands at 5,323, and police personnel at 172. This deployment of military personnel is higher than what it was in the early to mid-1990s. However, India deployed more troops for UNPKOs in 2005 (7,203), when the country was the third largest force contributor among 108 countries.[23]

Table 1. Deployments from India to Current UN Peacekeeping Missions

Source:United Nations Peacekeeping

Possibilities for India-Brazil Cooperation 

India and Brazil can establish a close partnership in UN peacekeeping missions. While the two countries have a long history of contributing to UNPKOs, they make asymmetric contributions. Brazil’s contribution stands at 76 personnel, whereas India’s deployment is 73 times higher at 5,548. This vast difference perhaps reflects the way India and Brazil define their respective roles within the UN’s mandate on the global stage.

For India, UNPKOs are a critical part of its contribution to global stability and order. Indeed, India sees peacekeeping missions as a means to play a larger role in international affairs, as it seeks a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Brazil, for its part, has been more reluctant in this regard, at least compared to India, and until the 1990s its participation was largely “symbolic”.[24]

At the same time, however, the vast gap in India’s and Brazil’s troop numbers should not be overstated. After all, Brazil has been a major diplomatic and political contributor to peacekeeping missions.[25] For Brazil, participation in UNPKOs are undergirded by “political motivation”.[26] Brazil seeks to avoid “adventurous” operations that leave Brazilian forces deadlocked and prevent their withdrawal.[27] From a domestic political standpoint, Brazil’s participation strikes a balance between the requirements of its National Defence Policy and the rules of engagement mandated under UNPKOs.[28] Brazil has also been an innovator in UNPKOs, as will be discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

Figure 1. India’s and Brazil’s Contributions to UNPKOs (Military and Police Personnel)

Source: Troop and Police Contributions”, United Nations Peacekeeping

At the UNSC, where Brazil is a non-permanent member for 2022-23, Brazil’s key priorities included “efficient peacekeeping”.[29] Like India, Brazil is seeking a permanent seat at the UNSC and therefore would like to leave its imprimatur on peacekeeping.  Yet, it aims to ensure that its commitments to peacekeeping remain pragmatic and within its own means.[30] It refers to this strategy as the “Brazilian Way” of peacekeeping, which it has pursued in the past two decades.

The “Brazilian Way” was necessitated by the requirement to create a set of tools reflecting Brazil’s own worldview, operational framework, and doctrines that may be at odds with those of groups such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Consequently, in 2001, the country established a training centre called the ‘Centre for Preparation and Evaluation for Peacekeeping Missions of the Brazilian Army’,[31] which then led to the creation of an institutional architecture that would allow Brazilian forces to participate effectively in UNPKOs. The internalisation of the UN’s rules of engagement is integral to this initiative which is adapted in accordance with Brazil’s National Defence Doctrine and reinforced by localised interpretations of peace and conflict scenarios.[32] The “Brazilian Way” has a distinctive “peace-building” component to UN-sponsored humanitarian missions. Peace-building according to the Brazilian Way involves focusing developmental initiatives on the affected countries.

The UN mission in Haiti has served as a test-bed for the practical application of the Brazilian Way, emphasising on development rather than military effort.[33] Brazil’s involvement in the UN’s MINUSTAH mission in Haiti was derived primarily from the experience of the Brazilian armed forces who have carried out development work in the Amazon and adjoining regions.[34]

Given India’s large troop contributions and Brazil’s innovative approach to peacekeeping, both countries could benefit by learning from each side’s strengths. For example, India could send serving Indian Army (IA) officers on deputation to the Brazilian military’s ‘Centre for Preparation and Evaluation for Peacekeeping Missions of the Brazilian Army’ on how Brazilian forces have synthesised the UN’s rules of engagement with Brazil’s National Defence Doctrine. The IA, for its part, can learn about the effective implementation of the Brazilian Way to local conflict situations. As a reciprocal measure, India should share its experience with Brazil on peacekeeping missions and draw their attention to how Indian troops deployed under UN aegis conduct and implement the UN’s peacekeeping mandate.

Brazil in UN Peacekeeping: Challenges and Potential for Cooperation with India

Danilo Marcondes 

Participation in UN peacekeeping operations is a key component of Brazil’s multilateral engagement as well as its broader foreign policy goals. Brazilian contributions go back to the beginning of such missions in the early 1950s, and continue until today, when missions have become more complex. Brazil’s record of contributions includes the provision of troop contingents and military observers, as well as the leadership of the military component of different missions, including ongoing ones such as the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

While it is not possible to provide a detailed discussion of Brazil’s broad range of motivations, participating in such missions has helped Brazil show solidarity with fellow Lusophone countries (as in the missions in Angola, Mozambique, and Timor-Leste), contribute to international efforts to provide peace and stability to West Asia (as in the missions in Suez and Lebanon), and support the development of Latin American countries after situations of domestic unrest (as in the mission in Haiti).

During the Cold War, Brazil contributed to the UN Emergency Force (UNEF-I) in Suez from 1957 to 1967, and the UN Operation in the Congo (UNOC) from 1960 to 1964. Following the departure from Suez, Brazil refrained from contributing to other UN missions. This coincided with Brazil’s absence from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), as the country completed a term as a non-permanent member in 1968 and would only return as a non-permanent member in 1988.[35]

Brazil returned to contribute troops to UN peacekeeping missions in the early 1990s, including to the UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) and to the Third UN Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III). At the same time, Brazil returned as a non-permanent member of the UNSC in 1989.

One of Brazil’s most important contributions to UN peacekeeping operations took place in 2004, when it deployed troops to the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), including doubling its contribution after the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. A Brazilian General led the military component of MINUSTAH for the entire duration of the mission (June 2004-October 2017), which remains unprecedented in the history of UN peacekeeping. This reinforced the country’s historical position that security and development are connected and that both are essential for sustainable peace. Brazil has also emphasised non-military initiatives towards the protection of civilians.

At the domestic level, Brazil’s engagement in MINUSTAH helped foster enhanced coordination between the three branches of the armed forces as well as between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence (which had been created in 1999 and, at the time of the deployment to MINUSTAH, was still in the process of becoming more institutionalised).

Brazilian contributions went beyond the Caribbean. In 2011, Brazil provided the flagship vessel to the Maritime Task Force (MTF) of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and a Brazilian Admiral became the commander of the MTF. Brazil remains the only non-NATO country to have led the MTF.[36]

At present, while Brazil does not have any troop deployments in the African continent—where the majority of UN missions are located—it provides special attention to UN efforts regarding peace and security in the African continent.[37] For example, Brazilian Army generals have occupied the position of Force Commander in the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) since 2013. Brazil has also been attending meetings of the G8++African Clearinghouse on Peacekeeping Capacity Building since 2008. Brazil has served as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration within the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) since Guinea-Bissau entered the agenda of the PBC in 2007.

Brazil has also utilised its peacekeeping participation to promote bilateral defence cooperation. For example, Brazilian military officers have served in the Spanish contingent within both UNIFIL’s land component and Argentina’s contingent at the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Brazil has hosted troops from Paraguay in its contingent in MINUSTAH and welcomed peacekeeping instructors from Argentina, Chile, and France at the same time that it has sent officers as instructors to peacekeeping training centres in different continents. The accumulated experience in participating in peacekeeping missions, particularly the recent deployments to MINUSTAH and UNIFIL, has favoured the country’s defence diplomacy agenda, including by helping showcase Brazilian military equipment to external audiences. In parallel, Brazil supports other defence initiatives, such as the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS, in its Portuguese acronym),[38] initially proposed by Brazil, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly, in 1986. After an attempt to revitalise ZOPACAS in 2007, Brazil hosted a ZOPACAS Peacekeeping Operations Seminar in November 2015.

Brazil’s historical contribution to UN peacekeeping operations as well as its most recent contributions to MINUSTAH and UNIFIL illustrate the country’s role as a key Latin American troop-contributing country. This status has been reflected in Brazil’s capacity to host many regional consultations and seminars organised by the UN regarding peacekeeping operations, such as the June 2010 seminar, ‘A New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping: Perspectives from the South’ and the March 2015 Latin American and Caribbean regional consultation meeting of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October 2014.

Post-MINUSTAH and Post-UNIFIL Scenarios 

The end of MINUSTAH in October 2017 and the departure of the Brazilian flagship vessel from UNIFIL’s MTF in December 2020 marked the end of the Brazilian contribution with troop contingents. The current scenario of Brazilian engagement with UN peacekeeping is characterised by an emphasis on training and capacity building, and the participation of individual military observers.  Within training for peacekeeping participation, Brazil has invested in the provision of mobile training teams, deployed to countries of strategic importance for Brazilian foreign and defence policy, most notably in South America, the South Atlantic space, as well as Lusophone countries.[39] Moreover, Brazil has expanded its cooperation with peacekeeping training centres beyond South America. For example, in 2017, the Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with its Ethiopian counterpart to promote cooperation between the two countries’ peacekeeping training centres.[40]

Within training and capacity building, one particularly relevant experience has been the participation of expert teams from the Brazilian Army’s Jungle Warfare Training Centre in the training of contingents deployed to MONUSCO. The first team was deployed in 2019, and it was the first time the UN conducted on-site training of contingents already on the ground.

Brazil-India cooperation in peacekeeping-related issues 

Brazil and India are two large democracies from the global South that have historically contributed to UN peacekeeping missions. Both countries, for example, participated in the UNEF-I for the entire duration of the mission. While participation in UN peacekeeping is connected to specific elements of each country’s foreign and defence policy, the two countries share normative concerns regarding the abuse of the “all means necessary” language by the UNSC, as reflected in their decision to abstain from UNSC resolution 1973 (2011) authorising the use of force in Libya.

At the bilateral level, defence cooperation has increased particularly after the setting up of the India Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral Dialogue Forum in 2003. The India-Brazil Joint Defence Committee (JDC) has been conducting meetings since 2010 and includes the exchange of experiences regarding training for peacekeeping operations in its agenda. Most recently, in the January 2020 ‘Brazil-India Joint Statement on the occasion of the State Visit of the President of the Federative Republic to India’, the two heads of state “reiterated their desire to jointly collaborate in training as well as exchange of information on peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. They expressed their intention to further strengthen the coordination between the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Centre and the Indian Centre for UN Peacekeeping.”[41]

There is also a potential for cooperation on peacekeeping operations-related matters within the UNSC. For example, during its August 2021 presidency of the Council, India prioritised the use of technologies in peacekeeping operations, with a focus on the protection and safety of peacekeepers. This is an agenda where Brazil can provide continuity during its own term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, from 2022-2023. Brazil can also learn from the Indian experience, particularly regarding the deployment of all-female battalions in UN peacekeeping missions, to meet its national commitments related to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.[42] India has had a successful record of appointing officials to strategic positions within the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (now Department of Peace Operations)—this could be of interest to Brazil, as it seeks to expand its presence in strategic positions in international peace and security within the UN system.

For its part, Brazil can provide insights into how participation in UN peacekeeping operations can promote regional defence cooperation, including regarding the training for participation, that could offer inspiration to Indian attempts to foster these initiatives within South Asia. Brazil and India can also join forces and coordinate positions within the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC). Furthermore, the two countries can discuss the new challenges emerging from the growing use of new technologies in UN peacekeeping missions and cooperate in creating more space for UN member states from the global South to participate, via international bidding processes, as providers of goods and services to UN peacekeeping missions.

III. U.N. Security Council Reforms

The UNSC and Brazil-India Relations

Marianna Albuquerque 

The reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been a subject of debate since the early days of the organisation but gained momentum only after the Cold War and the emergence of multipolarity. Historically, Brazil and India have prioritised the UNSC reform in their multilateral foreign policy. Both are intermediate countries in comparison to the great powers, with an emergent path and search for protagonism, but two central elements distinguish them: military power—above all, nuclear power—and the regional context. Despite differences in core values regarding peace and security instruments, they are aligned in their common desire for a permanent seat at the UNSC.

This essay aims to introduce Brazil and India’s historical cooperation at the UNSC and give policy-oriented indications of how they can leverage their joint initiatives. It is divided into three sections. The first part gives an overview of Brazil’s and India’s mandates at the UNSC to amplify mutual knowledge about how they have more in common than expected at first glance. The second part analyses the current state of affairs, and the prospects for UNSC reform. The piece concludes with a summary of policy recommendations for strengthening Brazil-India relations in the context of the global security regime. In the year that Brazil and India celebrate their 200th and 75th independence anniversary, respectively, it is timely to assess the potential of Brazil’s and India’s engagement for a more representative world order.

Brazil and India at the UNSC: A Brief History 

From a relational perspective, at the UNSC, Brazil and India are commonly considered intermediate powers. Borrowing Keohane’s concepts, they are not as system-effectual as the five permanent members, known as P5, due to the asymmetric institutional design and power relations. However, they are not system-ineffectual, either, owing to their diplomatic and negotiating capabilities.[43] Traditionally, intermediate powers value multilateral arenas to try to influence international decision-making processes.[44] Multilateral negotiation is cost-effective for countries with limited resources as it eases the articulation of common strategies. Multilateral rulemaking also establishes normative limits for the will of the great powers.

During the Cold War, the UNSC faced paralysis due to the constant vetoes. In a bipolar context, Brazil was elected for six mandates. Two strategies stood out: the alignment with the United States (US), and the denouncement of political inequalities. Regarding the first, despite minor fluctuations, Brazil aligned with the US virtually in all of the UNSC resolutions. The divergences were related mainly to the second strategy: Brazil fiercely criticised measures that promoted divisions or inequalities between UN member-states. The country advocated for the consideration of social and economic inequalities in UN policies and refused to adhere to unequal agreements such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Brazilian diplomat Araújo Castro once referred to as “the freezing of world power”. The continuous campaign for the UNSC reform was also part of this effort.

India was elected for five terms, the first just three years after independence. Unlike Brazil, which was not the target of direct scrutiny, India was involved in debates about the wars with Pakistan and conflicts in its regional surroundings. Therefore, while South America was not a region of immediate attention, South Asia was pivotal for the Cold War correlation of forces. If Brazil’s alliance was with the United States, India connected to the other side of the equation; the latter partnership was seen in the Soviet vetoes in defence of India. It was during that period that India conducted the Pokhran I nuclear tests. Although employing a different strategy, India’s arguments converged with the Brazilian demands. The nuclear goal was connected to the socioeconomic aspect, as it was considered a step towards development. India also denounced the asymmetric character of the agreement, more focused on non-proliferation than on disarmament, and therefore benefiting the nuclear powers.

After the Cold War, the new power dynamics at the UN opened new possibilities for the intermediate powers. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India had to reinvent itself politically and economically and undertook a strategy of approximation with the US. An example of the stance was the permission to supply US aircraft during the Gulf War, even though it undermined the historic principle of non-alignment advocated by India. In Brazil, the “re-democratisation” was accompanied by a renewed emphasis on multilateralism, and the principle of using force only as a last resort. This was illustrated in its decision to abstain on resolutions about the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Haiti, following the coup that dethroned elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Before convergence, in 1998, Brazil and India adopted different positions in the non-proliferation regime. India continued its nuclear program while Brazil ratified the NPT. Thus, Brazil sought to become influential in security issues not through military power, but diplomacy.

Prospects for UNSC Reform and Brazil and India’s Joint Role

The post-Cold War multipolarity affected the UNSC’s legitimacy. In that sense, “the Security Council has lost its ability to declare the dos and don’ts of state behaviour.”[45] Therefore, demands for reform were a natural consequence. Debates about the occupants of the new seats are constant, and States formed alliances to strengthen their candidacies. In 2004, Brazil, India, Japan and Germany formed the G4 coalition and submitted a proposal to reform the body. According to the G4, the total number of members should be increased from 15 to 25, with the entry of six new permanent and four non-permanent members. The G4 advocated that the new permanent members include two African countries. As the P5 must agree on any reform of the Charter of the UN, the UNSC reform is stalled.

Yet, representation is only one part of the issue. As Harsh V Pant and Chirayu Thakkar (2021) wrote for ORF: “Two other crucial aspects—resourcing and realignment of priorities—should be considered simultaneously. (…) bringing more members to the Council would not necessarily resolve all the challenges unless the new notion of ‘conflict’—expanded thematically and altered geographically—is realised by the Council. As the centre of economic gravity has moved to the Indo-Pacific, so have the challenges to global peace and security.”[46]

Furthermore, there is the question of ownership. Candidates for a permanent seat must show that they are willing to face the burden and accept new responsibilities. The most recent mandates of Brazil and India can give indications of how they could act in a reformed UNSC.

In 2010, Brazil negotiated the Tehran Declaration with Iran and Turkey. After weeks of bilateral and plurilateral meetings, Turkey agreed to be a third party in monitoring the transparency and accountability of the Iranian uranium enrichment process. When the UNSC disregarded the efforts and proposed another round of sanctions through Resolution 1929, Brazil voted against a UNSC resolution for the first time in history. For Brazil, sanctions and isolation harmed the Iranian population and undermined diplomatic efforts.[47]

In 2011, Brazil and India were both serving non-permanent terms. In the context of the Arab Spring, Resolution 1973 was put to a vote, including an operative paragraph authorising the use of force in “all necessary means” in Libya. Five countries abstained: two permanent members (Russia and China) and three non-permanent members (Brazil, India, and Germany).

Among the justifications, Brazil and India converged in raising their voice against the exclusion of non-permanent members from the draft negotiations. They were not invited to support the penholder[48] and only received the proposal when the text was almost ready for a vote. They also condemned the vagueness of the resolution and the dangerous precedent it would set.[49]

In 2021, India was elected for its eighth term. In a geopolitical context of clashes between the US, China and Russia, India has an opportunity to be recognised as a responsible stakeholder. However, the challenge for India is to keep its “strategic autonomy”.  According to Pant and Thakkar, “By expanding its footprint in multilateral organisations, India is gearing up to become a global rule-maker. This desire to play a larger role in international affairs coincides with a heightening of the US’s expectations from its democratic partners to play a greater role in upholding the global rules-based order, especially with the rise of a revisionist China, aided by an equally disaffected Russia.”[50]

As for Brazil, the country started its 11th term at the UNSC in 2022. Despite receiving criticism for abrupt changes in voting and behavioural patterns on other forums, such as the Human Rights Council and the UN climate conferences, at the UNSC, Brazil has been maintaining its traditional positions so far. Brazil continues to defend issues such as women’s participation in peacekeeping operations, and a transparent and purpose-driven reform of the UNSC.

Policy Recommendations

The reform of the UNSC has been a milestone in Indian and Brazilian multilateral diplomacy. Both countries endorse the principle that a more representative council would be more effective in dealing with international security threats. They have been acting together as part of the G4, but recent experience shows that there is room for bilateral and plurilateral cooperation. Four policy-oriented suggestions could be considered by Brazil and India to reinforce their cooperation at the UNSC:

  1. Share mutual knowledge about the UNSC procedures. Although the parameters of the council’s actions are described in the Charter of the UN, the daily operations are organised by the Provisional Rules of Procedure. Several negotiations are held backstage, informally and with restricted access. Brazil and India could establish a joint effort to exchange information to enhance their influence by mastering the formal and informal procedures and acting together as penholders. 
  1. Co-organise high-level debates and side events on convergent agendas. These can include the development-security nexus. They would enhance the power of agenda-setting, double their slots of international leadership, and seize the opportunity to appear as a united front. 
  1. Reinforce the democratic leverage. Brazil and India are two of the biggest democracies in the world, in a context in which authoritarian regimes are exponentially growing and threatening peace and security. 
  1. Include debates about the UNSC agenda in other alliances and forums where Brazil and India are represented. If matters brought to the attention of the UNSC are also reflected upon in other groups such as BRICS, IBAS and G77, there will be more opportunity for finding common grounds in advance. 

UNSC Reforms: India’s Position and Perspectives for India-Brazil Cooperation

Aarshi Tirkey

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds a unique place in global governance, as it is the sole international organ that holds the power to undertake binding and enforceable action for maintaining international peace and security. Over the years, however, the UNSC has been criticised for many reasons: its membership reflects the power structures of a bygone era, while political imperatives have inhibited the UNSC from intervening in conflicts, such as the recent Ukraine war.

Some limited efforts have been made to reform the UNSC since its inception in 1945. The UN Charter was amended in 1965 to increase the Council’s membership from 11 to 15. This reform was introduced following the wave of decolonisation in the 1960s, which increased the number of UN member states from 51 to 114. Other reform efforts have largely focused on the following: a larger Security Council, the categories of membership, the question of regional representation, the question of the veto, the working methods of the UNSC, and the relationship between the UNSC and the UN General Assembly.[51]

Nevertheless, the structure of the UNSC is not representative enough to accommodate the interests of all member states, while the veto power granted to the permanent five (P5) causes further imbalance. It was to fill this void that the G4 initiative was launched in 2005 by India, Brazil, Japan, and Germany to expand the membership of the UNSC. This chapter discusses India’s participation before the UNSC and the country’s initiatives for reforming the Council, and offers recommendations for forging an India-Brazil partnership for the UNSC.

India’s Participation Before the UNSC

India has been an active participant in the UN and the UNSC since its inception. During the San Francisco conference in 1945, India actively campaigned for a permanent seat at the UNSC, but it ultimately failed, like Brazil did, partly because it was not an independent country yet at the time.[52]  Although India’s and Brazil’s bids for a permanent seat failed, both countries have served several terms as non-permanent members. India has been elected as a non-permanent member eight times, while Brazil, 11. (See Tables 1 and 2) Due to their frequent elections, as Blum (2005) points out, both India and Brazil have obtained “quasi semi-permanent” status at the UNSC.[53]

Table 1: India’s Terms as a Non-Permanent Member at the UNSC

Source: Author’s own 

Table 2: Brazil’s Terms as a Non-Permanent Member at the UNSC

Source: Author’s own. Adapted from
*In Tables 1 and 2, the years of overlap between India’s and Brazil’s terms are highlighted in colour.

The years that India served as a non-permanent member coincides with “testing times” for the UNSC. Major conflict situations occurred during the time India was a member, including: the Korean War (1950–1951); the two Arab-Israeli wars (1967 and 1973); Israel’s first invasion of Lebanon (1977); the first Gulf War against Iraq (1991); the massive upheavals in Libya and Syria (2011–2012); the US withdrawal from Afghanistan (2021); and the Russia-Ukraine War (2022).[54] A seat in the Council was important to India and invariably, senior diplomats were designated to the role. Foreign affairs ministers also took part in the meetings on occasion, and during a recent month of India’s presidency at the UNSC (August 2021), current Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on maritime security.

India’s voting behaviour in UNSC resolutions largely adheres to its principles and foreign policy interests. Of the resolutions that have been discussed during India’s tenure at the UNSC, India has largely voted affirmatively on a majority. Most of India’s abstentions are on resolutions pertaining to the “India-Pakistan question”, which have mostly concerned the matter of holding a plebiscite in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. More recently, India abstained from voting on resolutions that sought to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine. While some countries have voiced their disapproval of this position—stating that India should take a stronger stand on the Ukraine war—India has highlighted the historical, political and strategic reasons for its vote, and emphasised that it is maintaining a “neutral” stand on the issue.

With reference to the resolutions where India voted “no”, seven resolutions were not adopted, while one was. The resolution that was adopted related to the “Question of safeguards to Non-Nuclear weapon States Parties to the non-proliferation Treaty”. India’s decision to reject the NPT in 1968 is well-documented: it was on the ground that it is a biased legal instrument that divided the world into “nuclear haves” and “nuclear have-nots.”[55] Both India and Brazil were critical of the NPT, although they have had different approaches in practice. Both countries are committed to non-proliferation; however, while Brazil is not a nuclear-weapon state, India is. It follows a “no first use” policy, i.e., it pledges not to use nuclear weapons in war unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.

India and UNSC Reforms

Throughout the years, India has regularly pushed for UNSC reform; indeed, this agenda has been one of New Delhi’s foremost foreign policy objectives.[56] Through the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), as well as with the help of countries from the NAM, India has worked on various proposals for reforming the UNSC. In 1979, India and 12 other non-aligned states tabled a resolution in the General Assembly to increase the membership of the UNSC from 15 to 19 with the addition of four non-permanent members. They argued that UN membership had increased since 1963, from 136 to 152, and that the last 1965’s benefits had already been nullified.[57] The proposal, however, did not materialise as permanent members showed no interest.[58]

In the 1990s, India strengthened its campaign for reform and eventually, in 2005, it became a part of the Group of Four or the “G4” comprising India, Brazil, Germany and Japan. The G4’s proposal envisions six new permanent seats: two for Africa, two for Asia (India and Japan), one for Latin America and the Caribbean (Brazil), and one for Western Europe and Others (German); and four new non-permanent members (one each from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean). In total, the UNSC members would increase from 15 to 25, with four additional non-permanent and six additional permanent members.[59]

A key argument for the G4 proposal—including India’s —is that expanding the UNSC membership would enhance its legitimacy and make it more representative of UN membership.[60] This has been one of the foremost arguments used to usher in a change for the democratisation of global governance. In 2004, for example, India argued that it deserved a seat because it was the world’s second-largest country in terms of population, it has a large economy, and it is the third largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping missions.[61]  However, too many key decision-makers opposed at least one of the G4 members. None of the plans received enough endorsement to be put to vote at the UNGA.

Forging India-Brazil Partnerships for the UNSC

Due to the physical distance between India and Brazil, the interaction between the two has often remained minimal and literature on India-Brazil relations does not dominate the academic and policy circles. However, cooperation between India and Brazil to strengthen multilateralism and global governance mechanisms, are essential to further developing South-South relations in the 21st century. In an era where great-power rivalries dominate and the relevance of multilateralism is being questioned, cooperation between India and Brazil can reinvigorate discussions and debates on reforming multilateral organisations.

Progress has been made toward South-South diplomacy between India and Brazil, with the creation of the G20, their participation in the G4, and the formation of the IBSA bloc with South Africa in 2003.[62] India and Brazil have cooperated on multilateral forums previously; in 1964, the creation of the UNCTAD and G77 both feature India and Brazil as members. This creation of the BRICS grouping, along with the launch of the New Development Bank (NDB) is also a step toward creating institutional mechanisms that are not dominated by Western countries.

With specific reference to the UNSC, India and Brazil can continue to work together on reforms to democratise global governance mechanisms. Greater bilateral engagement between the two countries on UN-related issues can enable India and Brazil on common issues of concern at the UNSC. For instance, in December 2021, India and Brazil held Director-General-level talks on UN issues and they agreed to work closely together on key issues on the UNSC agenda.[63]

Therefore, at the political and strategic level, this can be done through workshops involving diplomats, government officials, militaries, academics and practitioners from both countries to exchange experiences, discuss positions, and map the road ahead for a more effective UN system.[64]  The two are united in their efforts to change the distribution of power in international institutions, yet aware of the growing need to assume responsibility and play a more active role in addressing global challenges.[65] In 2022, both India and Brazil will remain non-permanent members of the UNSC—this provides a unique opportunity for both to not only fulfil their role as responsible powers but also make efforts toward the democratisation of global governance.

[1]  These notes were based on Pereira (2021).

[2] According to Abreu (2001), the position of the G-10 was based on different arguments: the inclusion of new themes not directly associated with traditional trade issues; the risk that the inclusion of new themes diverts the negotiations from pending issues such as protectionist measures by developed countries; and the perception that these themes were related to the interest of developed economies to ensure their advantages in the new wave of technological innovations. The member countries of the G10 were Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, India, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania and Yugoslavia.

[3] The Summit of 2009 held in Yekaterinburg (Russia) marked the institutionalisation of the bloc.

[4] Besides the European Union and Brazil, the other countries are: Canada; China; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Hong Kong, Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; and Uruguay.

[5] The Ottawa members are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, European Union, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland.

[6] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion. Trade and Development Report,” 2018,­tionsLibrary/tdr2018_en.pdf

[7] Biswajit Dhar, “Trade Wars of the United States”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 53, No. 37, pp. 12–7, 2018,

[8] World Trade Organization (WTO), “World Trade Report: Economic Resilience and Trade,” 2021,

[9] Nowcast estimates use numerous official statistics and other country and regional level indicators of trade, industrial production, domestic trade, freight transportation, trade prices, and business and consumer surveys. UNCTAD updates its nowcast estimates once every week.

[10] James McBride and Anshu Siripurapu, “What’s next for the WTO?”, Council on Foreign Relations, December 13, 2021,

[11] Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), “Ambassador Katherin Tai’s Remarks as prepared for Delivery on the World Trade Organization”, October 2021,

[12] IMF-WB-WTO, “Reinvigorating Trade and Inclusive Growth,” September 30, 2018,

[13] The Economic Times, “India, Brazil, South Africa call for reforms at international fora, including UN, G20 and WTO,” September 27, 2019,

[14] Rezaul H. Laskar, “India, South Africa to make a fresh push for waiver of vaccine patents at WTO,” Hindustan Times, May 1, 2021,

[15] NewsOnAir, “India: 5th largest trading partner of Brazil in 2021,” January 28, 2022,

[16] Swapna Kona Nayudu, “India’s under-appreciated role as sword arm of the UN”, liveMint, April 28, 2021,

[17] Nayudu, “India’s under-appreciated role as sword arm of the UN”.

[18] Swapna Kona Nayudu, “Foreign Policy Tiffin Talk”, Brookings India, December 2018, New Delhi, p. 2,’s-India-and-UN-Peacekeeping.pdf

[19] Nayudu, “Foreign Policy Tiffin Talk”, p. 2.

[20] “Unpopular – Public Resistance to UN Peace Missions”, CSS ETH Zurich, 20 July, 2010,

[21] Yeshi Choeden, “India and the Current Concerns of UN Peacekeeping: Issues and Prospects”, Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Vol. 1, No. 4, October-December, 2006, p. 61.

[22] Choeden, “India and the Current Concerns of UN Peacekeeping: Issues and Prospects”.

[23] Choeden, “India and the Current Concerns of UN Peacekeeping: Issues and Prospects”.

[24] Monica Hirst and Reginaldo Mattar Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, September 2014, p. 2,

[25] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”.

[26] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”.

[27] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”.

[28] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”.

[29] “Brazil’s 7 priorities in the UN Security Council – 2022-23”, Ministerio das Relacoes Exterories, October 14, 2021,

[30] “Brazil’s 7 priorities in the UN Security Council – 2022-23”.

[31] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”, p. 2.

[32] Hirst and Nasser, “Brazil’s Involvement in Peacekeeping Operations: the new defence-foreign policy nexus”, p. 2.

[33] Charles T. Call and Adriana Erthal Abdenur, “A “Brazilian Way”? Brazil’s approach to peacebuilding”, Geoeconomics and Global Issues, Paper 5, Brookings Institution, Washington D.C., February 2017, pp. 13-14,

[34] Call and Abdenur, “A “Brazilian Way”? Brazil’s approach to peacebuilding”.

[35] The Brazilian absence from both UN peacekeeping and the Security Council is discussed in detail in Eduardo Uziel and João Augusto Costa Vargas’s  “Twenty Years Wandering (But Not in the Desert): Brazil’s 1967-1989 absence from UN peacekeeping,” Brasiliana: Journal for Brazilian Studies 3, no. 2 (2015),

[36] Antonio Ruy de Almeida Silva, Carlos Chagas Vianna Braga and Danilo Marcondes “The Brazilian participation in UNIFIL: raising Brazil’s profile in international peace and security in the Middle East?,” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 60, no. 2 (2017),

[37] The 2017-2018 period was marked by domestic and external expectations that Brazil would contribute troops to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The reasons why Brazil was not able to deploy troops to MINUSCA are discussed in Eduardo Uziel and Danilo Marcondes’s “The Peacekeeping Deployment that Never was: Domestic Considerations Behind Brazil’s Decision not to Send Troops to MINUSCA,” International Peacekeeping 28, no. 5, (2021),

[38] The Zone is integrated by 24 countries, including all the countries located on the West African coast, from Cabo Verde and Senegal to South Africa, and Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

[39] Danilo Marcondes, Maíra Siman and Ricardo Oliveira “South-South Cooperation and Training for Peacekeeping Participation,” Journal of International Peacekeeping 21 no.

[40] Andréa Barretto “Brazil Works with Ethiopia on Training Center for Peacekeeping Operations” Diálogo Américas, posted May 28, 2019, (accessed  February 28, 2022).

[41] MRE, Press Release N. 13 “Brazil-India Joint Statement on the occasion of the State Visit of the President of the Federative Republic to India (January 25-27, 2020),

[42] Paula Drumond and Tamya Rebelo “Global pathways or local spins? National Action Plans in South America,” International Feminist Journal of Politics 22, no. 4 (2020),

[43] Robert Keohane, “Lilliputian’s Dilemmas: Small States in International Politics,” International Organizations 23, no. 2 (1969): 296.

[44] Maria Regina Soares de Lima, A política externa brasileira e os desafios da cooperação Sul-Sul. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 48, no. 1 (2005): 24.

[45] Tobias Scholz. Common Cause, Common Sense: How the UN Security Council could regain trust and legitimacy. ORF Raisina Debates (2020),

[46] Harsh V. Pant and Chirayu Thakkar. Strengthening Global Rule-Making: India’s Inclusion in the UN Security Council. ORF Issue Brief, n. 499 (2021),

[47] Celso Amorim, Teerã, Ramalá e Doha: memórias da política externa ativa e altiva (São Paulo: Benvirá, 2015).

[48] Penholder is the member responsible for drafting a resolution proposal. The penholders are usually permanent members.

[49] Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop and Leonardo Luis Gorgulho Fernandes, O Brasil no Conselho de Segurança 2010-2011 (Brasília: Funag, 2014); Meeting record available at

[50] See also Pant and Thakkar (2021).

[51] Oliver Stuenkel, “Leading the disenfranchised or joining the establishment? India, Brazil, and the UN Security Council”, Carta Internacional, 5(2016): 54.

[52] Yehuda Z. Blum, “Proposals for UN Security Council Reform”, 99 (2005): 638.

[53] Blum, “Proposals for UN Security Council”

[54] C.S.R. Murthy, India and the United Nations

[55] Jayita Sarkar & Sumit Ganguly, “India and the NPT After 50 Years”, The Diplomat, June 22, 2018,

[56] Baldev Raj Nayar and T.V. Paul, India in the World Order: Searching for Major-Power Status, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

[57] Kulwant Rai Gupta, Reform of the United Nations (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2006).

[58] Pawan Mathur, The Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations,

[59] Jan Niklas Rolf, Niall Juval Janssen and Max Liedtke, “Projecting General Assembly Voting Records onto an Enlarged Security Council: An Analysis of the G4 Reform Proposal,” Global Policy Journal 12(2011):313-324.

[60] Kulwant Rai Gupta, Reform of the United Nations

[61] Jonas von Freiesleben, “Reform of the UN Security Council,” in Managing Change at the United Nations, Center for UN Reform of the Security Council, April 2008.

[62] Mónica Hirst, “Brazil-India Relations: A Reciprocal Learning Process,” South Asian Survey 15(2008):153.

[63] ANI, “India, Brazil Hold Bilateral Talks on United Nations-Related Issues,” Business Standard, December 15, 2021,

[64] Sérgio Luiz Cruz Aguilar, “Brazil-India Relations and the UN Peacekeeping Operations,” in Brazil-India Relations: Beyond the 70 years, ed. Karin Costa Vazquez, (Brasília: Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation, 2019): 107.

[65] Oliver Stuenkel, “The Case for Stronger Brazil-India Relations,” Indian Foreign Affairs Journal 5(2010): 290-304.

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Marianna Albuquerque

Marianna Albuquerque

Marianna Albuquerque is Deputy Director of Projects at the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI). She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institute ...

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Kartik Bommakanti

Kartik Bommakanti

Kartik Bommakanti is a Senior Fellow with the Strategic Studies Programme. Kartik specialises in space military issues and his research is primarily centred on the ...

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Danilo Marcondes

Danilo Marcondes

Danilo Marcondes is a tenured Assistant Professor at the Brazilian War College (Escola Superior de Guerra-ESG) in Rio de Janeiro where he coordinates the Defence ...

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Abhijit Mukhopadhyay

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay

Abhijit was Senior Fellow with ORFs Economy and Growth Programme. His main areas of research include macroeconomics and public policy with core research areas in ...

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Lia Valls Pereira

Lia Valls Pereira

Lia Valls Pereira holds a PhD from the UFRJ Institute of Economics. She is an Associate Researcher at Fundao Getlio Vargas and is a member ...

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Aarshi Tirkey

Aarshi Tirkey

Aarshi was an Associate Fellow with ORFs Strategic Studies Programme.

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