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Suo Motu Statement on 'Hon'ble Prime Minister's visit to BRICS Summit' by External Affairs Minister in Parliament (23 July 2014)

July 23, 2014

Madam Speaker,
  1. I rise to inform the august House of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit to Brazil for the Sixth BRICS Summit on 15-16 July 2014.
  2. I would like to begin by congratulating President Dilma Rousseff and the people of Brazil for hosting an excellent BRICS Summit and thank them for their warm hospitality accorded to Hon’ble Prime Minister and the delegation. That the Summit was successfully organized immediately after Brazil had undertaken the huge task of hosting the FIFA World Cup made it especially laudable. President Rousseff also hosted a meeting of BRICS with eleven leaders of South America.
  3. The Sixth Summit was an important milestone in the short history of the BRICS.
  4. Among the outcomes from the Summit, the agreements on the establishment of the New Development Bank, to be located in Shanghai, and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement are especially significant achievement for the BRICS countries and the developing world.
  5. The initiative for the Bank, which was announced at the BRICS Summit in New Delhi in March 2012, reflects India's vision for an international development bank. The Bank will carry the name we had proposed - the New Development Bank. As the name suggests, it will establish a new paradigm for supporting inclusive growth, sustainable development and economic stability, which will be rooted in the experience and challenges of developing countries. As we will have the first Presidency for a period of five years, it will give us a unique opportunity to play a leading role in giving shape to the Bank. We are pleased that the group has accepted India's democratic vision of equal shareholding for all BRICS members.
  6. The New Development Bank not only offers additional long term source of development finance for members, it has also generated hope and excitement in the developing world. This was evident in the unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement of the initiative by the South American leaders in Brazilia.
  7. The Contingent Reserve Arrangement will give us an additional means of cushion against any sudden external pressures on the rupee and is particularly helpful at a time of persisting risk of volatility in international financial markets.
  8. Madam Speaker, Hon’ble Prime Minister also made it clear that India fully supports an open, efficient and rule-based global trading regime under the WTO. However, we also expect that it would address the aspirations of the developing countries and the special needs of the poor, especially in areas like food security, on which we stand firm. He also stressed that the post-2014 Development Agenda in the United Nations must be focused on the elimination of poverty. He emphasised the urgency and importance of reforms in the global institutions of governance, including the UN Security Council.
  9. Hon’ble Prime Minister also made a number of new proposals for strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation in the areas of online education, affordable health care platform, a virtual BRICS University, small and medium enterprises, tourism, youth exchange and science and technology. These are areas that are not only in line with our priorities, but would also expand opportunities for us, not only in BRICS countries, but also in developing countries at large.
  10. Hon’ble Prime Minister discussed a broad range of security challenges, on which there is a high degree of convergence among BRICS countries. He emphasized in particular, the need for stronger international unity and partnership in combating terrorism, ensuring a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and addressing the rise tide of turmoil in West Asia. We reaffirmed our commitment to contribute to a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict on the basis of universally recognized international legal framework, including the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. We believe the resolution of the Israel–Palestine conflict is a fundamental component for building a sustainable peace in the Middle East. The complete text of the Fortaleza Declaration is already in the public domain.
  11. Madam Speaker, the Sixth Summit underlined the relevance and role of BRICS as an important additional instrument for promoting global economic growth and stability, economic development in resource-constrained countries and international peace. The prevailing political turmoil, economic weakness and general uncertainty in the world imposes greater responsibility on BRICS to strengthen collective international efforts to address these challenges.
  12. As the outcomes in the Sixth Summit show, BRICS countries have the ability to take major decisions quickly, which encourages us to set higher ambitions for ourselves in the future.
  13. Madam Speaker, the opportunity to meet eleven leaders of South America collectively is a rare one for an Indian Prime Minister. Hon’ble Prime Minister was struck by their warmth, affection and admiration for India. We have shared aspirations and face common challenges. South America has made admirable progress in recent times. We see the continent as a land of vast opportunities for us and an important pole for global economy. We can benefit immensely from stronger mutual engagement. We intend to deepen and expand our engagement with South America, which has not received as much attention earlier as it deserves.
  14. Madam Speaker, Hon’ble Prime Minister also had the opportunity to personally meet for the first time leaders of India's important international partners and outline the government's vision and priorities for our engagement.
  15. Hon’ble Prime Minister informed President Xi Jinping that India and China had enormous opportunities to work together not only to reinforce each other's development, but also to contribute to peace, stability and progress in Asia and the world. He also noted that increased people-to-people contacts between our two ancient civilizations could greatly strengthen our relationship. He stressed the importance of strengthening mutual trust and confidence, maintaining peace and tranquility on the border and respecting each other's interests and concerns, including in our shared neighbourhood, for realizing the full potential of our relationship.
  16. President Xi Jinping shared our views on creating the right conditions and building a higher degree of engagement and familiarity between the two countries to harness the true potential of their relationship. President Xi Jinping said he looked forward to his planned visit to India during the year. He invited Hon’ble Prime Minister to visit China. Hon’ble Prime Minsiter intends to do so at an early convenient date.
  17. In his meeting with President Putin, Hon’ble Prime Minister expressed deep appreciation for Russia's long standing friendship and unstinting bilateral and international support for India's economic development and security. He reaffirmed that relations with Russia will continue to enjoy the priority that they always had in India's foreign policy. He reaffirmed our intention to further deepen and broad-base the strategic partnership. President Putin would be visiting New Delhi this year for the annual Summit. We hope to use the opportunity to outline a vision and roadmap for our relationship in the years ahead.
  18. Hon’ble Prime Minister similarly had a warm and productive meeting with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, during which the two countries pledged to work together to deepen our bilateral cooperation and international partnership. He invited South Africa to be part of our planned celebration in January 2015 of hundred years of Mahatma Gandhi's return to India from South Africa.
  19. Brazil is a key global partner for India. We believe that our cooperation with Brazil is limited not by distance, but by our imagination and efforts. Hon’ble Prime Minister and President Rousseff agreed that our two countries had a unique potential for cooperation bilaterally and on the international platform. We intend to further intensify our growing relationship.
  20. Madam Speaker, Hon’ble Prime Minister was very satisfied with the outcome of the BRICS Summit and his meetings with the leaders from partner BRICS countries and South America. In the emerging global environment, it is essential for India to pursue pro-active and broad-based international engagement to advance our national development and security and to fulfill our international responsibilities to build a peaceful and prosperous world. We will continue to place special emphasis on our neighbourhood, stretching from West Asia to East Asia. In the short time in office, our government has actively and decisively followed that policy.
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