External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar has said that India’s presidency of BRICS is underpinned by four pillars, reform of the multilateral system, counter-terrorism cooperation, technological and digital solutions for Sustainable Development Goals and enhancing people to people cooperation. Addressing the inaugural session of BRICS Academic Forum through video conferencing, Dr Jaishankar said, these pillars may seem abstract or even perennial, but each one of them actually has an explicit, real-world meaning. He said, BRICS is a statement of global rebalancing that underlines its essential diversity and pluralism. The Minister said, an updating and recalibration of the post-World War II multilateral architecture cannot be postponed any further. He said, the pandemic and the normative breakdown in its wake have rudely reminded us that institutions built to tackle problems of the 1940s desperately need to be upgraded and made fit-for-purpose for our century.
Dr. Jaishankar said, an expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council is a necessary ingredient. He said, but by itself it is not sufficient. The External Affairs Minister said, multilateral institutions have been disadvantaged by structural inertia, competitive gridlocks, uneven resourcing and skewed navigation. He said, the proliferation of new and smaller platforms, including of plurilateral and regional groups, is therefore a response to such felt gaps. Dr Jaishankar said, BRICS itself was actually among the earliest in this regard. He said, too often, we obsess with one or the other response and more effort and action is actually required to fill the gaps. The External Affairs Minister said, terrorism thrives in some of these gaps and its nursery lies in conflict-ridden spaces made fertile for radicalisation by malign players, including states. He said, the transition in Afghanistan that we are seeing today and the warfare that has yet again been forced upon its people has sharpened this challenge. Dr. Jaishankar said, left unattended, its edge will be deeply felt not just in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood but well beyond. He said, we are therefore all stakeholders in the quest for a clear, coordinated and undifferentiated response to terrorism. He said, in the 21st century, legitimacy cannot be derived from mass violence, brutal intimidation or covert agendas. He added that representation, inclusion, peace and stability are inextricably linked.