Underlining the “common objective of improving business and investment cooperation”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday called for finalisation at the earliest of a BRICS rating agency and said “I am happy to note that China has taken forward the people-to-people thrust of our exchanges from last year” because “such inter-mingling will consolidate our links and deepen our understanding”.
Speaking at the plenary session of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Modi told President Xi Jinping, President Jacob Zuma, President Michel Temer and President Vladimir Putin: “We contribute stability and growth in a world drifting towards uncertainty. While trade and economy have been the foundation of our cooperation, our endeavours today touch diverse areas of technology, tradition, culture, agriculture, environment, energy, sports, and ICT.”
“The New Development Bank has started disbursing loans in pursuit of its mandate to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries. At the same time, our central banks have taken steps to make the Contingent Reserve Arrangement fully operational. These are milestones of progress we can build upon. Looking ahead, it is important that our people remain at the centre of our journey.”
Listing “India’s own far-reaching journey of transformation” by being on “mission-mode to eradicate poverty; to ensure health, sanitation, skills, food security, gender equality, energy, education and innovation”, Modi said: “Moving forward, using the springboard of our national experiences, BRICS countries can deepen partnership for win-win results. Some thoughts come to mind for upgrading mutual cooperation. First, last year we discussed pooling our efforts to create a BRICS rating agency. An expert group has since been studying the viability of such an agency. I would urge that the roadmap for its creation should be finalized at the earliest.
“Second, our central banks must further strengthen their capabilities and promote co-operation between the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and the IMF. Third, affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to energy is crucial for the development of our nations. Climate resilient development calls upon us to utilise all available resource streams. Renewable energy is particularly important on multiple counts. Recognising this, India, together with France, launched a major international initiative — the International Solar Alliance (ISA) — in November 2015. It will bring together a coalition of 121 countries for mutual gains through enhanced solar energy utilisation. BRICS countries can work closely with ISA to strengthen the solar energy agenda. Our five countries have complementary skills and strengths to promote use of renewable and solar energy. The NDB can also establish an effective link with ISA to support such cooperation. We would wish to see more clean energy funding, particularly in solar energy, from the NDB,” he said.
“Fourth, we are nations with large youth populations. We need to mainstream our youth in our joint initiatives as far as possible. Scaled up cooperation in skill development and exchange of best practices will be a valuable instrument. Fifth, at the Goa Summit last year we had exchanged thoughts on smart-cities, urbanization, and disaster-management in the context of cooperation between our cities. We need to further accelerate this track. Sixth, Technology and innovation are the foundations of the next generation of global growth and transformation. India has also found that technology and digital resources are powerful tools in fighting poverty and corruption. A strong BRICS partnership on innovation and digital economy can help spur growth, promote transparency and support the Sustainable Development Goals. I would suggest considering a collaborative pilot project under the BRICS framework, including private entrepreneurship.”
India, he said, would be happy to work towards more focused capacity building engagement between BRICS and African countries in areas of skills, health, infrastructure, manufacturing and connectivity.