Bolsonaro highlights China and India partnership at BRICS summit

Jair Bolsonaro addresses the 13th BRICS Summit on Thursday morning. Photo: Palácio do Planalto
Jair Bolsonaro addresses the 13th BRICS Summit on Thursday morning. Photo: Palácio do Planalto

In his speech to open the 13th BRICS Summit this morning, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro praised the partnership between the Brazilian government and India and China on actions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The strategic partnership between Brazil and India is having an excellent moment. Our cooperation has advanced in areas such as science and technology, energy, and health, and above all in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, who mentioned the official visit he made to India in January 2020. “That visit has positive repercussions until today. Several instruments signed during the trip are bearing fruits.”

Mr. Bolsonaro addressed leaders from the four other BRICS nations: Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Upon citing Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr. Bolsonaro said the partnership between the two countries has been “essential” in Brazil’s management of the coronavirus crisis, “as a large part of the vaccines offered to the Brazilian population are produced with inputs from China.”

China is indeed Brazil’s main trading partner in the production of Covid-19 vaccine inputs, but the relationship between the two countries has been strained after a series of attacks by President Bolsonaro and his supporters on the Asian country. 

Months ago, Mr. Bolsonaro claimed China had benefited financially from the pandemic, insinuating that the country had intentionally created the Covid-19 virus as an act of chemical warfare.

“It’s a new virus, no one knows if it was created in a laboratory or by a human being ingesting an animal unfit [for eating]. But it’s out there. The military knows what chemical, bacteriological, radiological warfare is. Are we not facing a new war? Which country saw the biggest growth in its GDP? I’m not telling,” said Mr. Bolsonaro, during an event at the Planalto Palace in May.