India to host IBSA summit next year

By: | Published: December 10, 2016 6:20 AM

India will host a summit of a trilateral grouping involving Brazil and South Africa next year to promote South-South cooperation, reactivating the group in the shadow of the more powerful BRICS.

India will host a summit of a trilateral grouping involving Brazil and South Africa next year to promote South-South cooperation, reactivating the group in the shadow of the more powerful BRICS. Unlike BRICs, which includes China and also Russia, the IBSA, with a trade target set at $25 billion from the present $23 billion over the next few years, is purely countries either in the southern hemisphere or near it. The expectation from this grouping is that it will focus on their economies more than BRICs, dominated by heavyweights China and Russia. The 2017 summit will be first in six years.

Senior MEA officials told FE that dates and schedule for the summit would be decided after consultation among the three participant countries.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma met earlier this year, the two countries discussed intra-investment of the group, which needs to be given greater thrust. IBSA members’ investments shift towards other developing countries than among themselves.

The grouping that has been dormant for a while now recently got a fresh lease of life with the launch of a fellowship programme by Indian think-tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries, with support from the ministry of external affairs.

The first IBSA Visiting Fellowship Programme will have two scholars each from Brazil and South Africa conducting research in India for three-to-six months.

According to Preeti Saran, secretary (East) MEA, “IBSA brings together three like-minded countries that were committed to inclusive and sustainable development in pursuit of well-being for their people and other developing economies.”

“The IBSA Facility Fund for Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger, which was established in March 2004 and became operational in 2006, is funded by a contribution of $1 million annually by each of the three countries,” she stated, adding that the fund was operated by the UNDP.

The fund has contributed to development interventions and capacity building in several countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. “It has been widely recognised as a successful experiment of South-South cooperation,” Saran said.

The IBSA Dialogue Forum brings together three large pluralistic, multicultural and multiracial societies from three continents as a purely South-South grouping of like-minded countries. IBSA was formalised and launched via the adoption of the Brasilia Declaration in June 2003.

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