PM leaves for China for BRICS Summit

Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Apr 12: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (Apr 12) left for China to attend the BRICS summit where he intends to discuss issues related to "fresh uncertainties" that have emerged in Gulf and North African countries and make a strong pitch for coordinated efforts on major issues like energy and food security.

Singh will be in Sanya, China for three days after which he will travel to Kazakhstan as part of five-day two-nation tour.

"The traditional sources of economic growth are still under stress, even as fresh uncertainties have emerged as a result of recent developments in different parts of the world," Singh said in his departure statement.

The Summit is expected to discuss the volatile situation in Gulf and North African countries, including Libya, considering the feeling of uncertainty it has created with regard to energy supplies and prices, a senior official said.

Libya is an "extremely important issue" as it affects all the BRICS nations and is expected to be deliberated upon, Manbir Singh, Secretary (Economic Relations), in the External Affairs Ministry said.

In Sanya, Singh will hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and South African President Jacob Zuma.

As he left Delhi, Singh said, "I look forward to a wide ranging exchange of views with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders on the state of world economy and the contribution which BRICS can make in sustaining the process of global economic and financial recovery."

India would like to discuss and understand the viewpoint of other member countries on the international financial and economic situation, inflation that is affecting several countries and volatility in currency.

"If we can coordinate our positions on some key areas such as sustainable development, balanced growth, energy and food security, reform of international financial institutions and balanced trade, that will be to our advantage," the Prime Minister said.

Singh, who would be attending the third summit of BRICS grouping since the first stand alone meeting in 2009, said the conclave would see the participation of South Africa for the first time.

"India welcomes South Africa's membership of BRICS, which will provide an African perspective to our deliberations", he said.

During the five-day tour, Singh will also pay a two-day bilateral visit from April 15 to Kazakhstan where the two countries are expected to sign at least six pacts, including an inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear cooperation. 

The Prime Minister, who will be visiting Kazakhstan for the first time, said, "It is an important partner of India in a region which has always displayed special empathy and goodwill towards India".

The BRICS summit, whose theme is ''Broad Vision and Shared Prosperity'', is significant as the five nations will discuss state of the world economy and the contribution which the grouping can make in sustaining the process of global economic and financial recovery.

Noting that all BRICS countries are members of the G-20 and the United Nations Security Council, the Prime Minister said that the experience of working with each other in these forums has been positive and holds promise.

Singh said during his stay in Sanya, he looked forward to his meeting with the Chinese President.

"The India-China relationship is a key relationship which has now acquired global significance," the Prime Minister said.

On his trip to Kazakhstan, Singh said he would build upon the successful visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to India in 2009 and seek to expand the frontiers of cooperation with "that great country".

There was immense potential for moving forward in areas such as political and security cooperation, trade and investment, energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, information technology and capacity building, he said.

"My visit signals India's abiding interest in Central Asia that is rooted in the history and culture of this region," the Prime Minister said.


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