Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from August 22-24, marking the first time since 2019 that the leaders of the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—will appear on one platform.
The summit will be the first to be held in person after the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent global restrictions. Modi will be in Johannesburg until August 24 and will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The summit is followed by Africa Outreach and the BRICS Plus Dialogue, attended by other countries invited from the South African side. Modi will also hold bilateral meetings with some of the leaders present in Johannesburg.
India expressed its positive intentions about the expansion of the five-member BRICS grouping, with Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, stating that the intention is positive and open. He stated that 23 countries have applied for its membership, and the summit will focus on areas of political and socio-economic coordination. South Africa, as Chair of BRICS, is mutually focusing on accelerated growth, sustainable development, inclusive multilateralism, reforming global institutions, and strengthening the meaningful participation of women in peace processes.
Over 40 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia, have shown interest in joining the BRICS grouping. The expansion of the bloc is likely to be discussed on the agenda of the summit. Russia, facing diplomatic isolation over the war with Ukraine, has backed the expansion, while China has also supported the expansion. India’s biggest concern is that BRICS should not become a ‘China-centric’ bloc.
Proteas cricket legends Gary Kirsten and Jonty Rhodes have released video messages welcoming Modi to South Africa. Goyal, Commerce Minister, stated that BRICS is the engine of growth in the world, and with a significant change in the manufacturing process, the economy of the five-member organization is about to reach the combined GDP of the G-7 countries. BRICS includes the five largest developing countries in the world, representing 41% of the global population, 24% of global GDP, and 16% of global trade.