Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a virtual summit of the five-nation grouping BRICS this week that is taking place in the backdrop of the geopolitical turmoil triggered by the Russian attack on Ukraine.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday that Modi will attend the annual summit on June 23 and 24 following an invitation by the Chinese President. China is hosting the summit in its capacity as the chair of the grouping for the current year.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are also set to attend the summit.
The summit is also taking place amid the lingering border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh.
It will be interesting to see whether the summit will have a discussion on the Ukraine crisis.
“At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the 14th BRICS Summit hosted by China in virtual format on June 23 and 24. This includes a high-level dialogue on global development with guest countries on June 24,” the MEA said in a statement.
It said the BRICS has become a platform for discussing and deliberating on issues of common concern for all developing countries, adding the grouping has regularly called for reform of the multilateral system to make it more representative and inclusive.
“Discussions during the 14th BRICS Summit are expected to cover intra-BRICS cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, trade, health, traditional medicine, environment, science and technology, and innovation, agriculture, technical and vocational education and training, and MSMEs,” the MEA said.
It said discussions are also likely on issues like reform of the multilateral system, combating the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recovery, amongst others.
Prior to the summit, Modi will participate, by way of a recorded keynote speech, in the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday, the MEA said.
Last week, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended a virtual meeting of top security officials of the BRICS nations. In his address, Doval called for bolstering cooperation against terrorism without any reservations while emphasising the need for urgent reform of the multilateral system in order to address global issues with credibility, equity and accountability.