Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will come face to face virtually to attend the 12th summit of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to attend the summit, that will focus on cooperation in counter-terrorism, trade, health, energy, and ways to offset impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s summit is hosted by Russia under the theme of ‘Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth’. The summit is being held in the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summit is the second time when PM Modi will face Xi Jinping after the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, amid ongoing border disputes between the two countries. The two had attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting last week and had met face to face through digital medium. At this summit, PM Modi said that ‘all the SCO member countries should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’. At a time India and China, are locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh for over six months, the BRICS is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population. The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion. Before the conference, Russia has said that bilateral issues will not be discussed in it.
“India will be taking over the chair of the BRICS, which would be the third BRICS Presidency for India since its inception (after 2012 and 2016) and will host the 13th BRICS summit in 2021,” the MEA said. Earlier this year in May, Russia had postponed the BRICS Summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Summit was scheduled to take place in St Petersburg, along with a meeting of the heads of the state council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) during July 21-23.