Virtual BRICS Summit on Nov 17; PM Modi, Xi set for a face-off
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to come face-to-face during the 12th summit of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping to be held virtually on November 17 via video conference.
This is also set to be the first virtual multilateral meeting to be joined by the two leaders since the border standoff in Ladakh in May. India’s foreign ministers and defence ministers have participated in other meetings that featured their Chinese counterparts in recent weeks.
The BRICS Summit will focus on further strengthening cooperation among the member states amid the Covid-19 crisis, according to a formal announcement on Monday from Russia, the current chair of the grouping. The theme for the meeting will be “BRICS partnership for global stability, shared security and innovative growth”.
In May, Russia postponed the BRICS Summit amid Covid-19 pandemic. The Summit was supposed to take place in St Petersburg, Russia, along with a meeting of the heads of state council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during July 21-23.
Russia, the current chair of the BRICS, had been keen on hosting the leaders of the five countries but several members had expressed apprehensions about holding an actual summit given the risk of infections, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
The Russian side formally announced on Monday that the BRICS Summit will be held virtually on November 17 with the theme of “BRICS partnership for global stability, shared security and innovative growth”.
“Despite the current global situation due to the spread of the Coronavirus infection, the activities under the Russian BRICS chairmanship in 2020 are carried out in a consistent manner,” said Anton Kobyakov, adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin and executive secretary of the organising committee to prepare and support Russia’s SCO presidency in 2019-20 and BRICS chairmanship in 2020.
“Since January 2020, more than 60 events have been organised, including via videoconferencing. The BRICS Summit will be the jewel-in-the-crown event of the Russian BRICS chairmanship which will provide an impetus for further strengthening cooperation with our partners to ensure the well-being of the BRICS countries,” he said.
Russia has focused on multifaceted cooperation between the BRICS nations to contribute to raising living standards and quality of life, the official statement said.
During 2020, the five countries in the grouping continued their close strategic partnership on three major pillars - peace and security, economy and finance, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, it added.
Russia has also helped facilitate meetings between India and China, such as the foreign and defence ministers’ meetings on the sidelines of the SCO meet in Moscow last month. The meeting of external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow led to a five-point roadmap for taking forward disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
A meeting of the BRICS’ foreign ministers last month had expressed concern on violence and conflicts in different parts of the world and said such situations should be resolved peacefully through political dialogue.
The joint statement issued after the virtual meeting of the foreign ministers didn’t refer to any particular conflict. The grouping has a convention of not taking up bilateral issues between its members.