While PM Modi’s meeting with president Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of the BRICS summit has sent a strong message about India’s acumen to deal with bilateral issues like Dokalam effectively, his agenda outlined at the meet for making the next 10 years a ‘Golden Decade’ for global growth has enhanced the country’s global leadership stature.
While questions have been raised about the efficacy of BRICS in a world dominated by domestic interests today, it is a fact that the platform has added to the growing stature of India in global economic and political discourse, and prime minister Narendra Modi has made full use of this window to embolden his position as a global leader.
The first bilateral talks between PM Modi and president Xi Jinping in China’s port city of Xiamen–on the sidelines of the BRICS summit after the resolution of Dokalam standoff–sending the message that both the sides were now willing to put ties back on track, in itself, is an indication of the two sides acknowledging the importance of avoiding unnecessary conflicts if BRICS has to be kept relevant.
PM Modi’s tweet after the meeting clearly signaled a change in the atmosphere, at least for the time being: “Met President Xi Jinping. We held fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China.”
Even though it would be a big mistake to consider any bilateral development with China as a victory or a position of superiority, there is no doubt that India’s stature and significance at the BRICS and other multilateral platforms is helping the country deal with bilateral issues in a better manner.
PM Modi rightly pointed out at the BRICS Emerging Markets and Developing Countries Dialogue in Xiamen that as the BRICS countries represented ‘almost half of humanity’, they had the responsibility of driving the global transformation in the next 10 years to make this period a ‘Golden Decade’.
His first commitment, out of the 10 outlined by him to achieve this objective–creating a safer world by organised and coordinated action on at least three issues, counter-terrorism, cyber security and disaster management–is probably the most significant one, requiring continued support from across the world.
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Bridging the digital divide and ensuring free flow of goods, persons and services are other areas that require a broader co-operation at the international level and it is good that PM Modi has taken up these issues to the BRICS.
It will not only help in keeping the BRICS relevant, but will also establish India as a major contributor in the new global growth order.