Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlined a five-point charter to strengthen BRICS - an association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - and to keep it as the main driver of global economic growth post-2008 slowdown of the West. Speaking at the plenary of the fifth BRICS summit, Singh said the roadmap for the future “should focus on consolidating and deepening our existing cooperation”.,
Singh said the first challenge was to respond to the persisting weaknesses in the global economy by “harnessing the vast opportunities for expanding trade and investment ties” between the BRICS countries. The PM said BRICS countries must exploit their complementarities for mutual benefit.
Secondly, the PM called for further research and development cooperation amongst BRICS to tackle similar challenges that member countries face. Third, Singh said, making economic development more broad-based and inclusive, was not “only a moral imperative, but a pragmatic approach to make the global economy more sustainable and enhance political and social stability.”
BRICS countries should work more cohesively in international forums, as the fourth strategy. Fifth point put forward by the prime minister was to work for the reform of global institutions of political and economic governance.
The prime minister invited the attention of BRICS countries to the security challenges faced by the world, counting “terrorism, piracy and the emerging threats from cyber-space” among the most important security concerns. Singh said the importance that India attached to BRICS was not only for the benefit of Indians but also for the world at large.
“My conviction comes not merely from our capacity, but also from the purposeful manner in which we have worked together,” Singh said.
During his two-day stay in Durban, Singh held bilateral meetings with leaders from all the other four member countries. The most anticipated of them all, his first meeting with the new Chinese president Xi Jinping, was scheduled for Wednesday night. Prime minister will return to Delhi on Thursday night.