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Join our development journey: Modi at Brics

By, New Delhi
Aug 22, 2023 11:44 PM IST

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on Brics member states to leverage India's development for greater benefits to the Global South. Modi highlighted India's infrastructure and digital sectors as key areas for economic cooperation and emphasized the importance of mutual trust and transparency. He also mentioned India's economic growth, reforms, and initiatives in sectors such as defense, space, and renewable energy. Modi arrived in South Africa to participate in the first in-person Brics Summit in three years. The expansion of Brics and a possible bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to be discussed during the summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on Brics member states to take advantage of India’s development, saying that the combining of economic strengths will bring greater benefits to the Global South.

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Addressing the Brics -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa -- Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue in Johannesburg, Modi held up India’s infrastructure and digital sectors as key areas for economic cooperation. The Brics states have an important role to play at a time when the world is grappling with economic challenges amid the Covid-19 pandemic, tensions and disputes, he said.

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“I invite you all to join India’s development journey. The Covid pandemic has made us aware of the importance of resilient and inclusive supply chains,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.

“For this, mutual trust and transparency are very important. By combining each other’s strengths, we can make a significant contribution to the welfare of the entire world, especially the Global South.”

Modi arrived in South Africa on Tuesday afternoon to participate in the first in-person Brics Summit after three years of virtual meetings. He said when the first Brics Summit was held in 2009, the world was emerging from a major economic crisis and the bloc had become a ray of hope for the global economic set-up.

“Despite the turmoil in the global economy, India is today the fastest growing major economy in the world,” he said. “Soon India will become a $5 trillion economy. There is no doubt that India will be the growth engine of the world in the years to come.”

India has converted times of hardship into opportunities for economic recovery, and its reforms have led to an increase in the ease of doing business, he added.

The compliance burden has been reduced and India is “rolling out the red carpet by removing the red tape”, Modi said.

Sectors such as defence and space have been opened up to the private sector, and the use of technology has advanced financial inclusion, especially for rural women.

Modi cited digital payments, infrastructure and renewable energy as new areas for collaboration among the Brics states. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has helped make India the country with the largest number of digital transactions and countries such as the UAE, Singapore and France have joined the platform.

“There are many possibilities of working on this with Brics countries as well,” he said.

India has allocated about $120 billion for infrastructure in the budget for the current fiscal, and the government is taking steps to make the country a global manufacturing hub for solar and wind energy, electric vehicles, green hydrogen and green ammonia, he added.

On his arrival at Waterkloof air force base, Modi was welcomed by South Africa’s deputy president Paul Shipokosa Mashatile. A ceremonial welcome was also accorded to him.

In a statement before his departure from New Delhi, Modi said the Brics Summit will be an opportunity to identify future areas of cooperation and review institutional development.

He added that his subsequent visit to Greece on August 25 – the first by an Indian premier in 40 years – is set to open a “new chapter in our multifaceted relationship”.

The issue of expanding Brics is expected to top the agenda of the summit in Johannesburg during August 22-24. There has also been intense speculation about a bilateral meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the summit.

Modi said Brics has become a platform for discussing issues of concern for the Global South, including development imperatives and reform of the multilateral system. He will also participate in the Brics-Africa Outreach and Brics-Plus Dialogue that are part of the summit activities.

“I look forward to interacting with a number of guest countries that have been invited to participate in this event. I also look forward to holding bilateral meetings with some of the leaders present in Johannesburg,” Modi said without giving details of the planned bilateral meetings.

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