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PM to leave tomorrow for Brazil, Cuba for IBSA, NAM Summits

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Sep 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will leave here tomorrow on an eight-day visit to Brazil and Cuba for the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summits which are expected to set the stage for a new era in South-South cooperation.

Dr Singh, who will reach Brasilia on September 11 after an overnight halt in Frankfurt, will have bilateral meetings with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other Brazilian leaders on September 12, during which the two sides will sign as many as eight agreements aimed at taking their relationship to a new high.

The first IBSA summit will be held on the following day at the end of which the three-year-old grouping of the largest democracies in Asia, Africa and Latin America will sign five trilateral documents designed to bring them closer to each other, especially in the areas of agriculture, biofuels, information technology and trade.

The 14th NAM Summit at Havana on September 15-16 will see the coming together of 116 member-states with a renewed resolve to project a new and contemporary vision of the movement and make it more relevant to the post-Cold War and post 9/11 world.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma have already left for Brasilia.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by, among others, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.

Mr Shivshankar Menon, who is due to take over from Mr Saran as the new Foreign Secretary on October 1, will join theIndian delegation in Havana, where the Prime Minister is also due to meet Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for their first meeting in nearly a year.

Dr Singh will leave for home from Havana on September 17 and is scheduled to be back here on the night of September 18.

This will be the first bilateral visit to Brazil by an Indian Prime Minister in 38 years after Mrs Indira Gandhi had visited the counter in 1968.

India attaches great importance to its relations with Brazil, which has emerged as one of the most dynamic economies in the world today and with which it has developed a close partnership in recent years.

Apart from cooperating in the areas of economy and trade, India and Brazil have been on the same side on many political issues such as terrorism, UN Security Council reforms, disarmament and global trade negotiations. Both countries are part of the G-4 initiative on UN Security Council reforms and are aspirants for permanent seats in the UNSC.

The agreements that the two sides are slated to sign will cover cooperation in the areas of science and technology, aviation, human settlements, standards, culture, manufacture of railway wagons, petroleum and gas and plant health.

The IBSA summit will look at a more active role for the grouping in South-South cooperation, pooling of their vast resources and harmonisation of their positions in international fora.

Alongside the summit, there will also be an IBSA CEOs' Summit to promote greater interaction among the private sectors of the three countries.

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