India on Monday pitched for a greater engagement with BRICS nations which have steadily expanded its agenda from financial matters to security and counter terrorism issues facing the international community. Addressing the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting here, Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh said BRICS countries have reached significant understanding on security and counter terrorism issues. “Besides cooperating on financial issues, the BRICS agenda has witnessed steady expansion,” he said.
“BRICS joint working group mechanism has concluded in May 2017,” Singh said, adding the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of BRICS countries are due to meet next month ahead of this year’s summit of the bloc to be held in China’s Xiamen city in September.
“In Delhi meeting last year they (NSAs) had reached significant understanding on security and counter terrorism matters,” Singh, who represented External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the meeting, said.
Swaraj could not attend the meeting due to health issues.
Singh, who held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday, said India attached great importance to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and “(we) continue to work closely with all our partners with mutual trust, respect and transparency to further enhance our bonds”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid special emphasis on people-to-people exchanges in the BRICS process,” he said.
“I reiterate India attaches its utmost importance to its engagement with BRICS. Our Prime Minimiser had repeatedly underscored the importance of BRICS in the international arena and stressed the importance of intra BRICS cooperation,” Singh said.
Besides Wang and Singh, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa and Alosio Nunes Ferreira of Brazil attended the BRICS foreign ministers meeting which is expected to finalise the agenda for the Xiamen summit.
In his meeting with Singh on Sunday, Wang said China and India are both major countries with great influence and that they should boost cooperation in the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and all other multilateral frameworks to make contribution to peace and stability in the region and the world at large, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Talking to other BRICS foreign minsters, he called for closer cooperation among the BRICS countries.
In the bilateral meeting with South African foreign minister Maite, Wang said BRICS countries, faced with increasing uncertainties in the international situation, should unite more closely and play a leading role in building a community of shared future for the mankind.
China stands ready to step up coordination with South Africa to strengthen the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) as well as the BRICS mechanism, continuously expand the strategic cooperation between the two countries, and safeguard the common interests of the two nations and all other developing countries.
During his meeting with Lavrov, Wang said China is willing to deepen coordination with Russia to enhance strategic trust, boost economic and financial cooperation, increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges and strengthen the cooperation mechanism among BRICS countries.