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March 25, 2013
New Delhi

PM’s statement prior to his departure for South Africa

I leave today for Durban, South Africa, to attend the Fifth BRICS Summit at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma.

Over the last few years, BRICS has emerged as a consequential voice in the international arena. Close coordination between its members through the means of an annual Summit and several area-specific meetings as necessary has strengthened cooperation and improved the effectiveness of the forum. Given the collective economic weight and global standing of BRICS countries, the forum represents a unique mechanism to address regional and global challenges, particularly in so far as the interests of the developing world are concerned.

As the current BRICS Chair, India received the unstinted support of its partners in successfully implementing the ambitious agenda adopted at the New Delhi Summit in March 2012. The Durban Summit gives us an opportunity to make further progress on the initiatives that we launched in Delhi to deepen intra-BRICS cooperation and fulfill our international responsibilities. I look forward to discussions on new ideas in Durban to advance our goals.

At the time when the world is facing multiple challenges, the Durban Summit provides a useful and timely opportunity to consult and coordinate on a broad range of issues with our BRICS partners. We will   discuss ways to revive global growth and ensure macroeconomic stability, as well as mechanisms and measures to promote investment in infrastructure and sustainable development. India will also urge faster movement on reform of institutions of global political and economic governance. It is important that BRICS continue to consult closely on developments affecting global peace and security.

This will be the first BRICS Summit on African soil. The ‘Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization’ between BRICS and Africa will be an important theme of the Durban Summit. Given India’s long-standing and close friendship with Africa and our growing economic partnership with the continent, including through the India-Africa Forum Summit mechanism, I look forward to the dialogue that BRICS leaders will have between themselves and, in a special retreat, with a large number of distinguished African leaders who are coming to Durban. I will reaffirm our strong and enduring commitment as a steadfast partner for inclusive development in Africa and for advancing our common interests in international forums.
I will also take the opportunity of my visit to hold substantive bilateral meetings with other BRICS leaders. I look forward to meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It will be an opportunity for me not only to greet the new Chinese President personally, but also to discuss how we can maintain the positive trajectory of our relationship and further strengthen this very important bilateral relationship. I also intend to review with President Putin of Russia the progress in India-Russia relations after the successful Summit in Delhi in December 2012. I also look forward to meeting with President Zuma of South Africa and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, both of whom will also join us in Delhi in June for the IBSA Summit.