India on Tuesday joined its Brics partners — Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa — in a call for providing support to businesses, especially MSMEs, to tide over the Covid-19 crisis and ensure livelihoods are not lost, even as the likelihood of a Brics summit to be hosted by Russia in July this year looks increasingly remote.
Addressing the Brics ministers of foreign affairs video conference convened by the current Brics chair, Russia, external affairs minister S Jaishankar emphasised that the pandemic is not only posing a great risk to the health and well being of humanity but is also severely impacting global economy and output by disruption of global trade and supply chains. In 2018, the GDP of all Brics countries amounted to approximately $19.61 billion.
“Economic activity across sectors has been negatively impacted leading to loss of jobs and livelihoods,” said Jaishankar, underlining the urgency of reforms of multilateral systems as reformed multilateralism was the way forward.
The brainstorming session, initiated by Russia, to muster a joint Brics response to counter the pandemic, is the first meet of the five-nation bloc since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and in the run-up to the summit in St Petersburg in the third week of July. India will hold rotating Brics presidency in 2021.
A virtual meeting of Brics health officials is envisaged on Covid-19 pandemic on May 7, 2020 to take the discussion forward in a focused and purposeful manner.
The Brics countries have been hit hard by the pandemic with India accounting for 29,974 positive cases and death toll of 937, Brazil reporting about 4,500 deaths and almost 67,000 confirmed infections, Russia with death toll to 681 and overall case count of 74,558, China with death toll of 4,633 and overall confirmed cases of 82,836, and South Africa with total number of confirmed cases at 3953 and death toll at 79.