Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his opening remarks at the 12th BRICS Virtual Summit said that the economies of BRICS had a major role to play in the post-COVID economic recovery given that the five countries were counted among growth engines of the world. The 12th BRICS virtual summit was hosted by Russia and took place via video link due to the covid-19 pandemic. In his address, Modi stressed that terrorism posed the biggest threat to the world and countries that support terrorism must be held accountable.
The theme of this year’s summit was ‘BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth’. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also joined the summit via video link. The BRICS represents over 3.6 billion people and the five countries have a combined estimated GDP of $ 16.6 trillion.
On Reforming Global Governance Institutions
“The credibility and effectiveness of global governance institutions are being questioned. The main reason for this is that these did not change with time. These are still rooted in the thinking and reality of a world which was seen 75 years ago”, the Prime Minister said.
“India believes that reforms in the UN Security Council are a necessity and in this matter, India expects the support of BRICS partner countries. Besides the UN, there are a number of international organisations that are not working according to the current realities. WTO (World Trade Organisation), IMF (International Monetary Fund) and WHO (World Health Organisation) should also undergo reforms,” the prime minister said. The remarks come ahead of India assuming one of the 10 rotating non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council in January. New Delhi has previously said that “reformed multilateralism” would be a key focus of its two year term, pushing for UNSC reforms.
Speaking on terrorism he stressed that Terrorism is the biggest menace the world is facing today. “We have to ensure that those countries supporting terrorists are also held accountable and that we work towards this end in a collective manner, “he said. The reference was a pointer to Pakistan though Modi did not name it. It could also be seen as indirect swipe at China which has shielded Pakistan and Pakistan-based terrorists from sanctions at the UN.
On Post-COVID Recovery
On post covid-economic recovery, Modi said BRICS countries had a key role to play in bringing the global economy back on track. “There is the scope for increasing intra BRICS trade,” Modi said adding later that member states could set a target of $ 500 billion. The BRICS’ New Development Bank could also play a major part in the post covid scenario, the prime minister said and added that he hoped the China-headquartered bank would open a regional office in India next year like it had done in Russia this year.
Modi also referred to the need for resilient supply chains adding that India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat programme was a step in this direction. Giving the example of how India’s pharmaceutical sector had worked overtime to produce hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol and how New Delhi had supplied the drugs to 150 countries across the world, Modi said. “India’s vaccine production and delivery ability will help mankind in the same way,” the prime minister added.
In his speech, Russian president Putin called for a joint effort by the BRICS countries to produce coronavirus vaccines, suggesting that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine could be produced in China and India. “We believe it is important to speed up the establishment of the centre for development and research of BRICS vaccines, which we agreed to do two years ago, upon the initiative of our South African friends,” Putin said in his remarks.
“The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has reached agreements with its Brazilian and Indian partners on conducting clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine, it has also reached an agreement with pharmaceutical companies in China and India to launch production of the vaccine in these countries not just to cover their needs, but for third countries as well,” Putin said.
“As we speak, Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase-III clinical trials of vaccines, and we are prepared to have cooperation with South Africa and India as well,” he said adding “We will actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries where there is a need.”