On the day Chinese President Xi Jinping praised National Security Advisors of BRICS countries for their efforts in enhancing mutual trust and cooperation, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said “vital” issues discussed at the meeting of the NSAs and its outcome will have an “impact” on the main summit in September. This exchange took place amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam at the trijunction with Bhutan. While there was no official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs on Doval’s bilateral meeting with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi that took place Thursday, some high-level contacts and official meetings are expected over the next few weeks.
“There was some recognition in the bilateral conversation about the need for more engagement before the BRICS summit in Xiamen early September, and there are likely to be some high-level official visits next month as part of efforts to defuse the situation,” a top source told The Indian Express, without going into details of the meeting between Doval and Yang.
Possibility of visits by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and senior officials, including Joint Secretary (East Asia) Pranay Verma, to engage with Chinese interlocutors is being explored, sources said. The two sides, sources said, have indicated to each other that the current standoff will not be allowed to cast a shadow on the BRICS preparatory meetings — Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia was in Hangzhou from July 25 to 27 for a meeting of BRICS tax officials.
The Indian side has confirmed to Chinese interlocutors that Modi is likely to visit Xiamen, on the south-east coast of China and across the strait from Taiwan, for the summit planned from September 3 to 5. Speaking at the 7th BRICS NSAs’ meeting, Doval said, “It is great we are discussing vital issues that will have an impact on the next summit meeting.” He said the bloc of five countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — needs to show leadership in countering terrorism. “The outcome of the meeting today will contribute to the forthcoming BRICS summit meetings to be held in Xiamen in September,” he said.
After day-long deliberations over improving cooperation in a number of areas, the BRICS NSAs met Xi and interacted with him. The Chinese President told the NSAs, “Every minister has done a great job for improving our mutual trust and security cooperation. I sincerely thank you for all your efforts. I think the meeting was carried out well. In order to promote the strategic mutual trust of the BRICS countries, security cooperation, all of you have made a lot of effort.”
Xi advocated increasing BRICS cooperation which, he said, not only protected and expanded interests of the countries involved, but also helped build new international relations. “In the face of complex international political, economic and security situations, and considering the requirements of people in BRICS countries, exchanges in economic and financial cooperation, culture and communication all have to move forward,” he said.
Xi said BRICS cooperation had broken down boundaries of distance, overcome differences of BRICS countries’ development path and social institutions, and showcased their shared aspiration for stability, development and better livelihoods. “As long as we follow the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win results, and work together to build closer BRICS partnership, we will surely have the second golden ten years for BRICS cooperation,” he said.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, said: “The foreign representatives said that BRICS countries should cement unity and cooperation to cope with common challenges in economy and security areas such as anti-globalisation and terrorism, and to increase the influence of BRICS in global affairs.”
Earlier in the day, Yang chaired the seventh meeting of the BRICS security summit where he called on BRICS countries to “forge shared interests and a shared future, and enhance strategic mutual trust and practical cooperation”.
“BRICS countries should strengthen their collaboration and coordination on major global and regional issues to provide wisdom and efforts of BRICS for resolving the issues,” he said.
According to the MFA, BRICS representatives exchanged views on global governance, anti-terrorism, the Internet, energy security, major global and regional hot issues, as well as national security and development. “They also agreed on closer coordination and exchanges to advance the security and development of BRICS countries,” the MFA said.