Scaling up intra-group trade and increasing the political content in their cooperation will top the agenda when the leaders of five emerging economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS)-meet for their annual summit here on March 29.
The two enabling pacts-Master Agreement for Extending Credit Facilities in Local Currencies and BRICS Multilateral Letter of Credit Confirmation Facility Agreement-that will be signed at the summit are expected to give a fillip to the BRICS inter-bank cooperation mechanism signed during the last summit.
The mechanism envisages grant of credit lines in local currencies and cooperation in capital markets and other financial services, treasury transactions and issuing local currency bonds in BRICS markets subject to national laws and regulations.
The BRICS Financial Forum will also be held on March 28. "It brings together export-import and development banks of the five. It will primarily focus on intra-BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism," Sudhir Vyas, secretary economic relations in the external affairs ministry, said.
The intra-BRICS trade is growing at an average of 28% annually and stands at about $230 bn at present. "Consumer expenditure in BRICS countries, as percentage of GDP, ranges from 35-61% and there is strong and growing middle class with rising levels of income," Vyas said.
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, South African President Jacob Zuma and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet for the fourth BRICS summit on Thursday.
Besides participating in the summit, Manmohan Singh will hold bilateral talks with each of the visiting leaders.
Following their decisions at the last summit in Sanya, China, the grouping will increasingly focus on the political issues too. The Delhi Declaration, which will be adopted at the end of the summit, will reflect the BRICS' position on these issues.
The grouping will strike common positions on key international issues like the situation in Syria and Iran's confrontation with the West over its nuclear weapons. There are divergent views on these issues among the member countries.