Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reaffirmed India’s commitment to multilateralism, international trade and a rules-based world order as he participated in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in South Africa.
Modi, who arrived in Johannesburg on the last leg of his Africa tour, presented the country statement of India at the BRICS leaders’ closed session.
“At the session with fellow BRICS leaders, I shared my thoughts on various global issues, the importance of technology, skill development and how effective multilateral cooperation creates a better world,” Modi tweeted. He also met Chinese President Xi Jinping, who earlier urged fellow leaders of the BRICS emerging economies to “reject protectionism outright”.
Modi along Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Michel Temer and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa posed for a group photograph on the second day of their meeting. The leaders reiterated their resolve to fight terrorism, but the names of terrorist organisations including the Pakistan-based ones were missing from the joint declaration.
The Xiamen Declaration of the last BRICS summit, which was celebrated last year as a victory for Indian diplomacy, had named Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
“We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever. We urge concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis and express our conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against terrorism,” the joint statement said. “We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.”
In his address, PM Modi said India wants to work with the nations on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and called for sharing among them the best practices and policies in the area. The 4IR is the fourth major industrial era since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. Modi said technological innovations can help enhance service delivery and productivity levels. “High-skilled but temporary work will be the new face of employment. There will be radical changes in industrial production, design, and manufacturing,” he said.
In his address, Xi called for a concerted effort by global institutions such as the United Nations, the G7 and the World Trade Organization to fight unilateralism and protectionism. Xi also called for dialogue to settle disputes on global trade, underlining remarks he made at the opening day, urging a rejection of unilateralism in the wake of tariff threats by US President Donald Trump. Trump’s warnings have given the BRICS nations fresh impetus to enhance trade cooperation, and their leaders found a collective voice championing global trade at the summit.