Benaulim (Goa), Oct 16: Countering the threat of terrorism and strengthening security cooperation will be high on the agenda at the BRICS Summit that began here today with India set to forcefully articulate the dangers posed by terrorism emanating from Pakistan and push for a comprehensive global convention to tackle the menace.
The Summit is being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Michel Temer and Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa.
With the Summit taking place within weeks of the Uri terror strike by Pak-based terrorists, India will strongly pitch for intensified efforts to tackle terrorism including action against countries providing safe havens to terrorists and arming them. Modi has already held bilateral talks with Putin and Xi yesterday where talked about Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism.
The five BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world's population and they have a combined nominal GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.
At the Summit, India is likely to push for unity among the five-nation BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) grouping to remove the logjam at the UN on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) for effectively dealing with terror.
Apart from the heads of governments of BRICS attending the Summit, Prime Ministers of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar (State Counsellor) will be here to participate in the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach meet.
The BRICS Summit started with a 'family photo' followed by restricted talks between the leaders and later a meeting of business captains from the member-countries. In the second half, after the speech of the leaders, there will be BRICS and BIMSTEC retreat.
New Delhi will also make all out efforts to revive Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) when Prime Ministers of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar (State Counsellor) attend the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach meet.
This also assumes significance given the collapse of the recent SAARC Summit after four countries apart from India pulled out of the meet to be hosted by Pakistan over the issue of cross-border terrorism, maintaining that environment was not conducive to hold such an event.
The other key issues to be taken up during the meet include cooperation in areas of economy, tourism, connectivity, cultural, education and sports.
Three MoUs including those on cooperation in the area of environment and customs have been agreed upon by the BRICS countries. The pact pertaining to customs will help in breaking the trade barriers between these countries.
Security situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan is also expected to be discussed when the BRICS leaders take up important regional and international issues.