In India’s multilateral engagements, the BRICS has occupied a very important strategic space in its foreign policy, ever since the four nation grouping came into existence. In the shifting sands of geo-politics and geo-economics, the emerging economies of the BRICS are important entities to be reckoned with by the world at large. In this context, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation in the 11th BRICS summit in the Brazilian capital Brasilia, assumes traction. Ahead of the summit, highlighting the significance of the summit, Prime Minister Modi had said India and other BRICS nations look to build mechanisms for counter terrorism cooperation within the BRICS framework.
The Indian Prime Minister in his address to the BRICS Business Council underscored that these countries together account for 50% of world’s economic growth. He said, “Despite the recession in the world, the BRICS countries accelerated economic development drove millions of people out of poverty and achieved new breakthroughs in technology and innovation… Our market size, diversity and our complementarities are very beneficial to each other”. Appealing to the world business fraternity, he said that India is the world’s most open and investment friendly economy. Terming India a land of limitless opportunities, the Prime Minister urged the business leaders of BRICS to invest in India particularly in its infrastructure development. He suggested that by the next BRICS summit; at least five areas should be identified in which joint ventures can be formed between us on the basis of complementarities.
The BRICS forum provides a platform to the top leaders of the member countries to discuss and deliberate global issues of concern and mutual interests. The side-lines of the BRICS platform have been thoughtfully availed by the leaders to reach out to each other and share perspectives and exchange views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. It is in this backdrop that Prime Minister Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the side-lines of the Summit. Giving a sense of his meeting with President Putin, Prime Minister Modi tweeted, “Had an excellent meeting with President Putin. We reviewed the full range of India-Russia relations. India and Russia are cooperating extensively in areas such as trade, security and culture. The people of our nations will benefit due to bilateral ties.” Putin said that bilateral trade between Russia and India has registered a growth of 17%. President Putin invited Mr. Modi for Victory Day celebrations in Russia in May next year.
The Prime Minister also met Chinese President Xi Jinping for the second time in just over a month after their second informal summit in Mamallapuram. The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen Ind0-China bilateral ties. The side-lines meeting took place only a few days after India decided not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership RCEP). Significantly, it should be noted in this context that China is keen that India joins the RCEP. The Chinese leaders have expressed their optimism in this regard. During the meeting, President Xi thanked Prime Minister Modi for the warm welcome accorded to him at the Second informal summit. He also invited Prime Minister Modi for the Third informal summit to be hosted by China next year. Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi also noted that the new ‘High Level Mechanism on Trade and Economy’ should meet at an early date. Both leaders expressed their desire that the Special Representatives of the two countries will have another meeting on matters relating to the boundary question and reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border. They also discussed issues of mutual interest like BRICS, WTO and the RCEP.
The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year. Both leaders agreed that this will enhance people-to-people relations.
Script: Dr. Rupa Narayan Das, Strategic Analyst