AS PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday headed to Brazil for the 11th BRICS summit on November 13-14, Brazil’s ambassador to India, André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, said Brazil supports India’s stand that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is an “internal issue”. Asked if the government’s decision on J&K would be part of the discussions, he said, “I don’t believe so”.
In an interview to The Indian Express, he said: “I think that the key to the strength of BRICS is to keep looking for consensus on complex issues. And also to make sure that we respect each other’s differences… We are very different. Some countries are more democratic than others, some countries are growing more than others, some countries are in the (United Nations) Security Council. So we have to respect (that). We don’t want to bring to BRICS issues that are already being discussed in the appropriate context, so it really has to be a group that goes into an exercise of finding what they can do, (rather) than (what they can) say together.”
“I think that in Brazil, we have complete support for the idea that Kashmir is an internal issue of India. And if the issue with Pakistan has to be dealt (with) bilaterally, we have always been very supportive of this,” he said.
“We are not going to start putting this kind of subject (on BRICS’ agenda) to have the opinion of Russia and China,” he said.
Corrêa do Lago said the issue of counter-terrorism, which he termed as an “enormous priority” for India, would be discussed. While Brazil has not been a victim of terrorism, he said, the issue would be discussed in the “wider concept of transnational crime, including organised crime and drug-trafficking”.
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Saying that there is a “very strong link between all these criminal activities”, he emphasised the need to exchange information.
He said there is a great deal of curiosity about BRICS. “I think it’s very good to maintain this curiosity. Because somehow we speak another language than the mainstream. What I call the mainstream is what we would call the western group in the UN,” he said. He said BRICS has been able to “think in an original way” and sees issues in a different way than most of the rich countries.
Corrêa do Lago said Brazil and India are “undoubtedly great supporters and defenders of democracy” and all the other major principles in the UN. He said the original idea of BRICS was “provoked by the necessity of reforming the international economic institutions, Bretton Woods institutions and WTO”.
“It’s quite interesting that both India and Brazil have been extremely active and constructive in these institutions, and extremely active at the United Nations. But, at some moments, we have noticed that we were not getting the space we should in all these post-war structures,” he said, adding that they would discuss reforms and “what we can do with it”.
He said the two sides were also preparing a strong bilateral agenda, to be discussed by the two leaders, which will cover various aspects from trade and economy to counter-terrorism and energy.
Modi, who left for Brasilia on Tuesday, will be meeting Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
This is Modi’s sixth BRICS summit, and his second visit to Brazil — he attended the BRICS summit in Fortaleza in July 2014. The theme of the BRICS summit this year is “Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.”