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Transcript of Media Briefing by Secretary (ER) on BRICS (October 16, 2016)

October 17, 2016

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Good evening friends and welcome to our first briefing from the Media Center at Hotel Leela.

As you all are aware the BRICS Summit has just concluded. Three agreements were signed, Prime Minister gave the concluding press statement which has already been uploaded on our website. A Goa Declaration has been adopted as also a Goa Action Plan, which are both available on our website.

To brief you on this extremely significant 8th BRICS Summit, I have with me Secretary (Economic Relations) Shri Amar Sinha who was the Indian Sherpa for the BRICS.

Prior to the BRICS Summit, Prime Minister also had two bilateral interactions today. He first met President Sirisena of Sri Lanka and thereafter he met Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan.

First I will first give you readouts of these two bilaterals that took place in the morning today and then I will pass on to the Secretary (ER) to give you our perspective of the BRICS Summit. What were the main deliberations all about, what were the highlights and what, from our perspective, had been the significant achievement of this very important diplomatic outreach event.

The first meeting that Prime Minister had this morning was with President Sirisena of Sri Lanka. Prime Minister welcomed him to India. He thanked him for accepting the invitation to participate in the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach. He said participation of all leaders of BIMSTEC will give new strength to BIMSTEC and to exploring synergies with the BRICS countries.

The Sri Lankan President said that he was very happy to be in India once again. He said this is another occasion when the bonds between Sri Lanka and India are further strengthened. He alluded to the long standing relationship between the two countries. Thereafter the two leaders reviewed the development cooperation and partnership between India and Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena thanked Prime Minister for gifting of the ambulances and expressed hope that this would be extended to other provinces of Sri Lanka as well. He briefed Prime Minister about the progress of the rehabilitation project in the Northern Province.

Thereafter there was discussion on the thorny issue of the fishermen. President Sirisena said that he wanted a firm solution to the issue of the fishermen. Prime Minister agreed with him and said we must find a proper solution to this long festering issue. As you know we have invited the Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister to India and we hope that at that time the discussions would lead to some kind of mutually acceptable outcome.

Prime Minister briefed President Sirisena on the Uri terror attack. He said the support that had been provided by Sri Lanka, the grief of India that had been shared by the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, he expressed his gratitude for that.

He also said that as a result of the solidarity the countries of the region had shown after the Uri terror attack, a message has gone across that people in our region want peace and they recognize that the biggest challenge to peace and prosperity is terrorism.

The President of Sri Lanka said that Sri Lanka is firmly opposed to all forms and manifestations of terrorism.

Thereafter they reviewed bilateral cooperation in whole host of areas such as Energy, Health (this was in the context of the Hatten Hospital) etc.

Sri Lankan President thanked Prime Minister for all the projects that India is implementing in Sri Lanka. I think that really was the broad framework in which the discussions between the two leaders were held.

Turning now to the meeting with the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan.

Prime Minister began by welcoming him also to Goa, said that Goa itself was not a new city for Prime Minister Tobgay. He had been here apparently last November. He then conveyed his greeting to His Majesty, Her Majesty and the Royal Family of Bhutan.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan reciprocated by saying that the King of Bhutan had conveyed his warmest wishes to Prime Minister Modi. Thereafter he said that the people and government of Bhutan were deeply concerned at the deteriorating security situation in the region caused entirely on account of terrorism.

He said that terrorism in all its forms is unacceptable but cross-border terrorism and he specifically used the term "cross-border terrorism” is truly the worst form of terrorism.

He said that the whole region and the international community had stood with India in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack and Bhutan stands shoulder-to-shoulder with India. In particular, he praised Prime Minister’s leadership in this issue both diplomatically and on the ground.

He the conveyed appreciations for Government of India’s assistance which is touching the lives of every Bhutanese. In this context he referred to 84 big projects that are being implemented with Indian assistance and the 595 small developmental projects, which he said, have reached every village and town of Bhutan.

He very fondly recalled Prime Minister’s own visit to Bhutan and said that the people of Bhutan were deeply touched that Prime Minster Modi had chosen Bhutan as first country for his overseas trip after he became Prime Minister.

He talked about two or three projects that had been announced during Prime Minister’s visit. He said the e-library project was going very well and 72 schools had joined that project. He praised the initiative to double the number of Nehru-Wangchuk scholarships which has now enabled young Bhutanese to access some of the best educational institutions in India and the foundation laying ceremony of the Kolangchu Hydro-electric Project which is now being implemented as a joint venture.

He talked about the three mega power projects with a combined capacity of 3000 MW which are being implemented in Bhutan.

Prime Minister thanked Prime Minister Tobgay for the very strong support that Bhutan had rendered after the Uri terrorist attack as also the solidarity shown in relation to the SAARC Summit.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the cooperation in the hydro-electric sector was very significant because it was also contributing to offsetting Carbon Dioxide emissions.

There were then discussions on upcoming 50 years of diplomatic ties and ties of friendship between India and Bhutan which is coming up in 2018 and he sought Prime Minister’s advice and suggestions on how both countries could celebrate this momentous occasion in a befitting manner.

This was the readout of the two meetings that the Prime Minister had. After that he straight away went into the BRICS Summit. The restricted meeting, the plenary, the BRICS Council meeting and then followed by the BRICS plenary and the concluding statement. To brief you on that I now turn over to Secretary (ER) Shri Amar Sinha.

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: Good evening. Thank you for being here and I am surprised all of you reached here before the Prime Minister.

As he has briefed, it started with the customary informal dinner yesterday where all the BRICS leaders met. This was at the other hotel. Basically all the main BRICS engagements were today, starting this morning.

I could give you a brief overview of what was the general sentiments of the leaders. First of course that there was a convergence of view and all of them shared a common vision and wanted joint and creative actions to convert this common vision into reality. This was more or less theme of what each leader stated.

They also stated that our cooperation is substantial and substantive, it is multi-layered and multi-disciplinary. You will get a sense of it if you go through the declaration, it is over 87 paragraphs. It covers just about entire range of issues that the world faces whether it is global hotspots, terrorism, and growing radicalization i.e. challenges to continued economic growth.

In fact one or few leaders accepted that what was the strength of BRICS and right now even BRICS countries are facing certain challenges basically because of low labour cost, high energy cost model of growth so there is a need to re-orient our own long term growth policies. That was also a key focus.

The other great issue on which there was a lot of deliberation was how to do things that could lead to changes in global governance structures whether it is the UN, whether it is the IMF or think of different institutions and as you know our focus has been on institution building. So can we think of areas where we feel that not much will happen or change and there is a need to have a BRICS institution?

Some of the key institutions that we have been talking about, on two or three we have agreed, couple of them are work-in-progress and one important element is Credit Rating Agency for BRICS. You would have seen that the Business council, the Finance Ministers have all recommended and the leaders are also mainly convinced but we couldn’t sign the agreement right now because there was a need felt that perhaps experts need to look at it more closely.

The second financial idea is whether we could do trading in local currency. BRICS Bank has made a start, it raised its first capital in RMB through RMB bonds and this is what Mr. Kamath also told the leaders that this is what we are going to do more because it de-risks the BRICS bank from currency fluctuations. For the loans that they give to the members they would raise funds in their local capital markets.

In fact at the Business Council even our Vice President had said that we have to really look at trading in local currency and estimates are that if you did that your transactions costs will come down from 6 to 2 percent, the economists have evaluated that would be the benefit in trade.

Another key issue that we were pushing and we have pushed this at both the G20 and the BRICS and it is also included as a paragraph, is the issue of tax evasion, black money and corruption.

Tax evasion because under the complex international tax architecture, there are companies especially MNCs which have presence across the borders, they end up paying no taxes anywhere and they shift their profits.

So one of the key ideas is that taxation, and the BRICS leaders have agreed, should happen at the point where the activity takes place and not perhaps where their registered headquarters are or where their main subsidiary is or the holding company is because that is a way of evading taxes and there are companies which are not paying taxes anywhere.

So that is something we would like to capture in terms of generating the financing for development. There are actual studies which have proven that this type of tax evasion far exceeds the developmental finance that the developing countries raise annually so that is why this is a key thing.

Second of course which is a problem faced by all BRICS countries that both people who are needed for corruption or white collar crimes or tax evasion have fled and they have to be brought back along with the assets and money that are parked in safe havens.

So tax evasion, black money and the people who are needed in corruption cases was another key decision of the BRICS leaders and all are agreed that we need to work and develop norms which could be accepted by others.

There was agreement among BRICS leaders that we are emerging as a strong voice on emerging challenges. I am sure all of you would be interested so please note that terror was an important issue that was discussed.

The fact that it is important because terror challenges the very basis of their economies and their growth, it gets reflected in the declaration in a very substantive manner. We started with 8 paragraphs and later we merged it into 6 or 7 which you will see and it addressed every facet of terrorism whether it is the radicalization process itself, the process of recruitment including use of social networks or social media, the fact that training camps and facilities and the obligation for the states to dismantle those.

Then there is the responsibility of states that their territories are not used for terrorist activities, cutting down their funding, weapon supplies etc. So all these key ideas on terror have been captured in these 4 paragraphs and you must go through the statement carefully.

In the economic and finance segments, there were some very key ideas, if you want I can run down through this huge 87 paragraph declaration that we have got but there is another paragraph that I would like to draw your attention is the paragraph 54 which deals with nuclear energy.

Many of you may have many questions but what it recognizes here that nuclear energy will continue to play a significant role for some of the BRICS countries in meeting their 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreements. That is idea number one.

Idea number two is that we also underline the importance of predictability in accessing technology and finance for expansion of civil nuclear energy capacity.

Now I highlight this for the reason that these are the same two ideas which are guiding India’s position and that has been captured beautifully here so do have a look at it.

This is a joint document so it will be wrong to say that it is from our perspective. From the perspective of the BRICS these were the key ideas on which all of us agreed. Obviously there were negotiations as not everybody starts on the same page but eventually we all came around to agreeing these are the key challenges and we have captured it.

Of course there are are regional issues like Brazil would have issues from Latin America, South Africa brought in issues from Africa, so we tried to bring them to a common ground where all of us had some concerns.

Middle East and Palestine figures very prominently here as the hotspots around the world. There is no other reference to any other territory as such by name or any other country by name which is normal as the group never mentions a name except the one I just mentioned.

There are a lot of good ideas in Health, Wellness, and all the new initiatives that we have taken. Along with this there is a compendium which is called the Goa Action Plan.

Goa Action Plan has two aspects i.e. things that we have already done and things that we are yet to do as we still have two and half months of presidency left.

Each chair has the right to initiate good ideas so there are lots of them. Today another one was agreed by all the leaders and perhaps it will be added to the action plan and Prime Minister announced it that we will have a high level meeting on traditional medicine.

This is basically because at least three or four countries have systems of traditional medicine which have been forgotten plus Brazil and others also feel that this will lead to reduction in the cost of treatment of patients and also bring down the cost of medicine, which is a huge challenge and priority for all of us.

These were the broad aspects of this declaration. Thank you.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Secretary (ER) talked about the various programs that have been enshrined in the Goa Action Plan. One very important activity is going to take place in Delhi, it is called the BRICS Media Forum that is being organized by XP Division and this is my personal invitation to each and every one of you. Please come and participate in that.

Generally you do these things before a summit but we are doing it after the summit so it is a good opportunity to reflect on what the outcomes of the summit were and how media can contribute in broad basing the objective and ideals of BRICS, how the media can contribute to greater people-to-people contacts and more importantly how the media can itself forge very productive partnerships among the BRICS countries. These will be the subjects of the BRICS Media Forum which is taking place on 18th of October in New Delhi at Jawaharlal Lal Nehru Bhawan and all of you are cordially invited. With that the floor is now open to questions.

Question: Since the Prime Minister has specifically mentioned cross-border terrorism and also how fighting the cross-border terrorism is going to be a key priority area for BRICS, I was wondering if we at any point of time during the deliberations insist on including cross-border terrorism in the declaration.

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: If you are specifically looking for the word "cross-border” I don’t think it appears that way. You will not find it if you did a search of the words but look at the ideas and then I’ll tell you what it means.

The first thing that it accepts it that there is no justification for any terror activity and that includes besides religious, ethnic, racial also political, that there is not political justification of terror.

Second it talks about weapons of mass destruction. Nations should oblige and they should have a framework that weapons of mass destruction should not fall in the hands of terrorists.

Third that they should have a comprehensive approach for combating terror which should include inter-alia curbs on movement of terrorists, blocking sources of finances and dismantling terrorist bases.

Then it says we have done a great initiative of NSAs of BRICS and this is work in progress and we need to meet more often so that means this is not the final word and we will continue talking on this.

Then very pointedly it also says, "We recall the responsibility of all states to prevent terrorist actions from their territories.” If there are terrorist organizations in your country and they are only affecting you, I guess, it is your national duty to tackle them in any case.

So if the world or BRICS and others are telling these unnamed countries that you have to control this, I think the message is very clear you really don’t need to spell out everything. You have to see what the underlying thrust of the paragraph is.

Question: In the restricted meetings that took place earlier today, which were the terror groups that all the BRICS nations were more concerned about and did they also express a lot of concern about terror emanating from Pakistan, was that specifically raised by other nations?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: See the entire thing of Pakistan based terrorist groups and cross-border terror, we are the victims. The fact is that they have not yet reached South Africa and Brazil, they may one day, we don’t know.

The fact that the Prime Minister did raise that there is a mother ship and there are other modules which are all connected somehow back to the mother ship, I think that realization is there globally that there is a epicenter and there is a huge volume of literature which does trace this linkages very very clearly. Whether it is Al-Qaida, Al-Qaida’s linkages with Daesh, then the linkage of Al-Qaida backwards to Taliban to TTP and all that and I don’t need to go into that.

BRICS has also actually called upon that we should get this Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly without any further delay.

So that is also a huge step forward as two permanent UN Security Council Members are endorsing it now.

Question:
Given the number of times the Prime Minister raised the issue of terrorism and how strongly he raised it, were we disappointed or were we concerned by the fact that the Chinese President in his comments in the plenary session while accepting the fact that we need to work together on issues like terrorism, diseases and a number of other issues, he referred to find political solutions to hotspots and to deal with among the other things, both the symptoms and the root causes of these?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: I don’t know what he meant by root causes but the fact is that the Chinese, ever otherwise at times, did urge that the nations need to sit together, talk and resolve all these issues but that is the political part of it.

You know if there are issues between the two countries which they feel that they are neighbors and they need to resolve issues but on terror I don’t think there are any root causes linking to it because if they actually believed in it they would not endorse the CCIT which was stuck basically because of the issues of definition and finding the root cause.

Our view had been that the terrorist attack needs to be recognized by the criminality of it.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: See the Chinese public position on terrorism is quite explicit, they say, we oppose all forms and manifestations of terror, we are firmly opposed to terror and we ourselves are victims of terror so I don’t think there is any need to read hidden meaning in that.

Question from Hindustan Samachar: Meri abhi NDB ke Chairman se baat hui unhone kaha ki BIMSTEC ko unke koi bhi projects ko lekar kisi bhi prakar ka financial assistance dene ka NDB ka koi bhi iraada nahi hai kyonki its not in their work plan. They just want to concentrate on BRICS nations. But in Delhi, in business forums the corporate wants that NDB also support them and here Prime Minister and all talk about economic cooperation between the BRICS and BIMSTEC. So what will you say on this?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: Shayad sahi hai. Abhi pahla saal gujra hai. Pehle saal mein unka focus BRICS country tha. Abhi jo second tranche of commitments bhi aana baaki hai, teen deshon ne de diya hai, do deshon ka aana baaki hai to unka jaise jaise capital base expand karega wais waise unka portfolio badhega aur ultimately NDB toh BRICS ki bank hai.

You have anticipated the question that what BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach may decide, if it decides to approach NDB, I don’t think Mr. Kamath will take this position, ultimately it also depends on what guidance the BRICS leaders give.

Aur abhi to khud apne consolidation, capitalization karna hai and hey have to raise funds.

Question: Need to get a characterization from you about how the negotiations have been as we know that the Sherpas have been meeting for something like five days to put the Goa Declaration together. Specifically on the issue of terror, Prime Minister Modi has made it clear that it is the largest threat to the region and its peace and prosperity. Do you feel satisfied or disappointed by the final declaration?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: We are satisfied. Each country in such negotiations starts with their national positions and the maximalist positions and then it gets negotiated over long sessions and then you reach a position which is acceptable to everybody.

We were not looking that our national position needs to be signed on dotted lines by all the five countries but whatever is comfortable with and the key thing here is that they were comfortable with the ideas that we were trying to seek and that has been done.

If you notice it says that the international terrorism constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. These are strong words. I don’t think they are underplaying the threat of terror at all.

Regarding specific terror activities they may have different views or perceptions and you have seen the bilateral statements also.

We are quite happy with this and as we said international documents are always built one after the other. This is not the last BRICS Summit incidentally and there is a high level BRICS Forum of the NSAs where they have said that this will be kept under review and we would increase our counter-terrorism cooperation.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: If you look at declaration in totality, it talks about deepening of intra-BRICS cooperation, creation of new institutions such as BRICS Credit Rating Agency which are pretty far reaching and significant steps. So let us not reduce the entire Goa Declaration only to terrorism.

If you look at the totality of the discussions that have been held, the range of subjects that have been covered, it will tell you that BRICS cooperation is expanding and the 8th Summit has done tremendous amount of work towards putting BRICS on a path of really sustainable institution building.

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: If I may make another point which is not unrelated to BRICS, if you see what is happening in Afghanistan. China has actually started a Quadrilateral Military Cooperation on Terror which includes Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan basically because perhaps there is a realization that there are some backward linkages of what is happening in Uighur and what is happening in another melting pot of terror.

Question from The Week: Can you throw some light on what Russia meant by floating some Common Energy Agency because the energy concerns within the BRICS member countries are very different. At one level there is Russia which is concerned about falling energy prices and where others would like to have falling energy prices. So was there any kind of discussion and was there any kind of understanding of what kind of an agency the Russians are proposing?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: They have mentioned this idea but I don’t think it was discussed in great detail at the Sherpa level yet so I guess we will have to look at various aspects of it. The fact is our energy relations between the three BRICS countries is very strong. Both India and China are major energy partners for Russia.

We have liked the idea and we have to look at it. There are other three countries which are very strong supporters of India’s Solar Alliance. So we will have to look at the totality, are we talking only about the hydrocarbons or it is solar or mix of both.

Question: Talking of sustainable institution building, some of the initiatives have materialized at the Goa Summit but we have made several proposals including the idea of a NDB related think tank or research council and there were other proposals also. Some were screened out, some are work in progress apart from those which have materialized, what is way forward for the rest?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha:
The way forward is in the action plan. Things that we have started, we have discussed and done substantial work on but could not come to a conclusion, we have put it as chair’s initiative as ongoing proposals.

Sometimes perhaps countries are overwhelmed or they want to phase the outcomes, so whatever be the reason like NDBI institute, there is a suggestion to change the name to Economic Research, with which we are fine but we will work on them.

Another big initiative that we have taken that Axim Bank has started this annual economic research award and the first award must have been announced yesterday. It carries a cash award of 20 thousand dollars, we got papers from economists of all the BRICS countries, I don’t know who has won but these are all steps being taken towards developing a set of body of indigenous economic thinking.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: If you look at the Goa Action Plan there are 24 initiatives which have been announced during India’s BRICS chairmanship. It is huge number to have 2 dozen initiatives such as the BRICS film festival, the Trade Fair, Rating Agency, Sports Council, Railway Research Network, Smart Cities Workshop, Young Scientists Conclave and what Secretary (ER) just said Economic Research award etc. I think 24 is a very good number by any stretch of the imagination.

Question from NewsX: Question is on negotiations on the paragraph relating to terrorism in the Goa Declaration. Did India push for terms such as cross-border terrorism, state sponsored terrorism, safe havens and did China object to these given the sensitivities China shows toward the Pakistan? If these terms were used it would be direct reference to Pakistan?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: We did not focus on individual terms, we focused on the concepts and we pushed for the concepts and we got them so we are quite happy.

Question: Was the meeting yesterday between the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Nepalese Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi a spontaneous meeting? And did Prime Minister Modi say anything specific during that meeting?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: I asked Prime Minister about that because so many of you were asking about it. What happened was, yesterday there was a meeting of Prime Minister of Nepal and President of China, this meeting was happening just before they were to leave for informal dinner. So President Xi, as you have seen in the photograph, was in the jacket.

After the meeting ended, Prime Minister Prachanda was to leave for his hotel, at that time another convoy was coming so he was told that Sir, you have to wait for a little while so then he went into the leaders lounge.

President Xi was also there because they were all to be escorted to the venue where the informal dinner was to take place. Prime Minister Modi also happened to be there because he was to go with all the leaders, they were all to walk together towards the venue so it was just entirely coincidental that in the leaders lounge all three were present at the same time.

The bilateral between Nepal and China had already ended so I don’t know on what basis people are calling it a trilateral and things like that. It’s perfectly normal in a multilateral setting for leaders to be together in a lounge or the sidelines or somewhere else. So I don’t think you need to read too much meaning into that.

We have excellent relations with both China and Nepal, so obviously you will have a little chat.

Question: BRICS communique has been consistently talking about United Nations proscribed terrorist organizations such as ISIS but why there is no mention of Pakistan based outfits such as Jaish-e-Mohammad which has also been proscribed by United Nations?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: I guess it doesn’t concern them really to all the BRICS nations, it affects us. You know that Pakistan based outfits are also focused at India in terms of their activities. So since it doesn’t attack them we couldn’t get a consensus on actually including those. But if you will see it says ISIS, Daesh and various other affiliated organizations and I think there is a reference of terrorist organizations which are designated by UN.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup:
Also look, I think the important point is that you have to look at the Declaration that had come out of Goa in continuation of the declarations that have come out of other summits, after all this is not the first summit, this is the 8th summit.

Please look at the language that you had on terrorism in previous summits, look at the language you have at terrorism now and you will see that definitely it is a much more strengthened language on terrorism.

Question: One of the key objectives of the Goa BRICS summit was institution building so the focus was on the BRICS Credit Rating Agency. The fact that the leaders didn’t sign the agreement, do you think that is a disappointment and why it did not happen?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: No, that was one of the initiatives. Prime Minister’s first initiative was actually the Agricultural Research Institute, which had been signed.Then there was an MoU on customs cooperation, that has been signed.

Third one was the NDB and various Exim banks, which was ready but I think one of member state’s legal procedures for signature could not be approved so that is why we dropped it, only today, from the list otherwise it would also have been signed. We are hoping that by the next summit or even before there would be decisions on some of the others.

Credit Rating Agency is now included in the action plan because after much discussion it was decided that perhaps experts must go through it. You see every credit rating agency has to have credibility and access to absolutely dependable data.

So the experts are to look at these two things that what is it that we need to invest into an institution which lacks credibility doesn’t help. So that is why I think they thought that it’s good to spend more time trying to refine this concept.

Question: With so many countries throwing their weight behind us in condemning terrorism and Bhutan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us, Sri Lanka supporting us. What stops us from using a gunshot approach? Why do we just limit ourselves to using phrases like "mother ship of terrorism” i.e. using vague references?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Because that is the way diplomacy is conducted. Question: In the closing statement by the PM, he made a statement that we also agree that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such violence and terror are as much a threat to us as terrorist themselves. Can you explain how this statement is reflected in the joint declaration and which of the leaders talked about it in various sessions?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: When you are asking countries to stop terror bases, you are acknowledging that terrorism is the greatest threat. You are asking them to stop radicalization, to have control on recruitment, I think that it is precisely the same just worded differently.

PM said it as the injured party because India is the biggest victim, they have perhaps put it in more neutral terms but the ideas are exactly same.

The states which sponsor terrorism or promote terrorism need to be dealt with differently.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Please see para 59 of the Goa Declaration.

Question: If the questions from terrorism are over, I wanted to ask Mr. Sinha your three takeaways because Credit Rating Agency was supposed to be the big ticket announcement which for whatever reason didn’t happen so your three takeaways from BRICS 2016 in terms of economy and finance?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: Well, I think the growing realization that BRICS have to do more and more together in terms of sustaining their growth because there are two member countries which did see negative or zero growth. So there was this realization. And this was also said by the Chinese President.

We said that the growth had been weak because ultimately that is the basic starting point of BRICS as big economies so it is this that we have to maintain.

Flowing from that there was also a realization that BRICS has to do more within itself to support each other’s growth both whether it was the contingency reserve that we had last year or now as Prime Minister mentioned that we need to now look at doubling our trade in three or four years from 250 billion to 500 billion dollars and also kick start economies which are suffering with Intra-BRICS investments, both FDIs as well as use of NDB’s funds in BRICS.

So these were the three key realizations that we have to work in the long term.

Question: Is there a sense that there is a lack of consensus on some of these ideas particularly a Free Trade Agreement. Chinese President, kind of, pointedly said that some countries are looking more inward-looking in their policies and protectionism is rising and the forces against globalization are an emerging risk and it seems South Africa and others have reservations on Chinese positions on FTA and other integration?

Secretary (ER), Shri Amar Sinha: FTA was something that I actually read only in reports that China has suggested an FTA. It was never on the table really i.e. on the official agenda of the BRICS because each one is negotiating different instruments of global trade. This was in general sense of protectionism that even exports in BRICS, who are the main consumers of Chinese exports, it is the West and perhaps that was his context that there is growing protectionism where the markets are closing or shrinking.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: This concluded the press conference.

Thank you all.
(Concludes)

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