PM Narendra Modi nuances foreign policy approach ahead of BRICS summit

PTI Posted online: Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Berlin : Prime Minister Narendra Modi today nuanced his government's foreign policy approach seeking an aggressive Indian engagement on global issues to address regional crises and security threats for restoring global peace and stability while advancing economic stability.

Modi, who arrived here amidst light drizzle for an overnight halt en route to Brazil for participation in the sixth summit of the five-nation grouping BRICS, said in his departure statement in Delhi that he also hoped that negotiations at the summit would lead to establishment of the BRICS Development Bank.

Modi was received at the airport by Indian Ambassador to Germany Vijay Gokhale and senior officials from the German Foreign Ministry.

Berlin was preferred to Frankfurt for a transit halt on Germany's request for a possible bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel but their team's entry into the FIFA World Cup has rendered it a mere stopover for sleeping off jet lag.

Merkel is in Brazil to watch the World Cup final. Usually, Indian Prime Ministers transit through Frankfurt for further journeys across the Atlantic.

Modi's departure statement appeared to be giving a new thrust to India's foreign policy approach when he spoke of New Delhi's engagement on global issues.

"I look at the BRICS summit as an opportunity to discuss with BRICS Partners how we can contribute to international efforts to address regional crises, address security threats and restore a climate of peace and stability in the world.

"I also look forward to our discussions to further advance intra-BRICS economic cooperation and our collective efforts to advance global economic stability and prosperity. In particular, I look forward to the successful conclusion of major BRICS initiatives like the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, which have seen significant progress since their launch in New Delhi in 2012," Modi said.

"These initiatives will support growth and stability in BRICS and also benefit other developing countries," he said.

The BRICS Development Bank with an initial corpus of USD 100 billion was decided in principle at the Durban summit last year. India and China are said to be vying for getting the headquarters of the bank in New Delhi or Shanghai.

The summit on Wednesday is also expected to give a vigourous push to the need for reforms of the UN Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions like IMF and the World Bank with greater say for emerging economies in them.

Preparing for his first multilateral engagement with world leaders, Modi said they were meeting at a time of political turmoil, conflict and humanitarian crisis in several parts of the world and persisting weakness and risks in the global economy.

Many emerging economies have experienced a slowdown, which has increased the challenge of pursuing inclusive and sustainable economic development, Modi said.

Participating in the BRICS summit in the north eastern coastal City of Fortaleza and capital Brasilia on July 15 and 16 at the invitation of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the Prime Minister said India attached high importance to the BRICS Forum for promoting global economic growth, peace and stability.

In the course of the past five summits and several ministerial and official processes, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) has made major strides in pursuit of these goals, he noted. The meeting in Brazil will usher in the second cycle of BRICS summits.

The summit theme, "Inclusive Growth; Sustainable Development", will enable India to shape the post-2015 Development Agenda being discussed in the United Nations.

Modi said the summit will also be an occasion for his first meetings as Prime Minister with the leaders of India's important global partners -- Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa.

"I look forward to meaningful meetings with them to intensify bilateral relations and exchange views on global and regional developments. The summit will also afford an opportunity to interact with a number of leaders of South American countries at a meeting being hosted by Brazil in Brasilia," Modi said.

"India has traditional enjoyed close, cordial and mutually beneficial ties with these countries," he noted.

"We share common aspirations and challenges. The Indian diaspora in these countries also serves as the continent's enduring link with India. South America's all round progress makes it a potentially important pole of the global economy and a land of enormous opportunities for us," Modi said.

"My interactions would enable us to explore new ideas on further consolidating and expanding our ties with South America," he said.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Adviser A K Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram.