Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves on Saturday for Brazil for attending the five-nation summit of BRICS nations on July 14 and 15 which is expected to finalise the setting up of a development bank and seek reforms of the United Nations and international financial organisations.
After a stopover in Berlin tomorrow night, he will leave for Fortaleza, the north-eastern coastal city of Brazil, on Monday for the summit of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to be held on July 15, providing him his first opportunity at multilateral engagement.
An earlier plan to have a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin was shelved because of Germany’s entry into the Fifa World Cup final, for which she will be in Brazil.
Modi will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Adviser A K Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram.
The sixth summit of BRICS, which will follow up on the decisions of the Durban meeting last year, will provide the new Indian prime minister his first opportunity at meeting world leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, and discuss bilateral issues.
A Fortaleza Declaration containing the summit outcome is also on the cards. Negotiations are already on for which Sujata Mehta, Secretary, Economic Relations, External Affairs Ministry, is Modi’s sherpa.
BRICS accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s land mass, 40 per cent of its population and a combined GDP of USD 24 trillion.
Officials say that India will be hoping for an endorsement of the need for UN Security Council reforms and also those of the Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank and IMF.
The BRICS Development Bank is expected to take further shape with a decision to concretise its corpus at USD 100 billion, about which there was a broad agreement in Durban.
Discussions are on about the contribution from each member state and where to locate its headquarters — whether Shanghai or New Delhi.
It will be a development bank which will give concessional credit to members of BRICS and other developing countries.
There will be a ministerial meeting ahead of the summit and also a BRICS business council with businessmen from member -countries who will be meeting on July 14 and 15.
On the sidelines of the summit, he will also be meeting South African President Jacob Zuma besides host President Dilma Roussef of Brazil.
On July 16, the BRICS leaders will move to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, where they will meet leaders of South America, who have been invited by the hosts on the lines of Zuma inviting African leaders to Durban.
The Prime Minister will get an opportunity to engage with the Latin American region through meeting the leaders of South America, including heads of state and government from countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
India believes that the prime minister’s meetings with these leaders would further strengthen the already close bilateral relations with these countries and will be an opportunity to reinforce them.
On his way back home, the prime minister will make a brief halt in Frankfurt before reaching Delhi on July 17 night.