We can call it a step towards building a new world order where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words will be crucial.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was leaving on Sunday for BRICS Summit being held in Brazil, he outlined the approach of the government in the meetings briefly. He said that India will discuss “how we can contribute to international efforts to address regional crisis, address security threats and restore a climate of peace and stability in the world”.
This is the first multilateral meeting where the Prime Minister will be sharing the diplomatic high table with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time. He will also be holding one-to-one meetings with the rest of BRICS leaders.
In addition to this, the prime minister, in a first, will meet all the other eleven Latin American world’s leaders under one roof as Brazil’s President and the host Dilma Roussef, has invited the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Latin American region is a hub of hydrocarbons for India accounting for almost 10 percent of India’s needs. The importance of the Latin American nations for India can also be deduced from the fact that India has a trade of $42 billion with Latin America. Moreover, Latin America is home to 600 million people who account for GDP of almost five trillion dollars.
PM Modi is slated to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in his very first bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. It should be noted that it was China’s foreign minister who had first met with the new Indian government after its formation.
China’s growth story has been a matter of fascination for the prime minister, especially the infrastructure sector. Given that the Modi government has already unveiled its plans to give the Chinese an industrial park in India, all new approach towards stronger economic and business ties should be expected.
But it should not be taken as one eclipsing the defence and strategic concerns of India. The issue of military incursions and boundary dispute is expected to be raised by PM Modi with China and hammer out a solution.
Russia is an old trusted friend who has always been in Indian stride. For decades, it has been the major contributor to the Indian defence. But of late, the Indo-Russian relationship has been sliding downwards. The US has been advancing towards India in all possible manner with friendly gestures, including the official invitation to PM Modi from US Prez Barack Obama.
Both India and Russia have to rediscover each other and reboot their bilateral relationship. Russian Prez Vladimir Putin would inevitably be lending his ears to PM Modi. They are expected to talk about the proposed $40 billion hydrocarbon pipeline from Russia to India. Initially, the idea is to use the hydrocarbons pipeline for transportation of gas. Later the pipeline would be used for transporting oil too.
Russia and China have already signed such deal, which is the largest deal in the world’s history – a $400 billion deal which entails supply of 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually from Russia to China for a thirty-year period. There were reports earlier suggesting that the Russia-China pipeline could be extended to India. But Indo-Russian political ties are so warm that they don’t need this kind of choreography.
There is a strong likelihood that Modi may press for cancellation of the Russian proposal to sell MI-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan before India and Russia sign the gas pipeline deal. In all the likelihood, India will be granted its wish in this regard.
The news of setting up of a BRICS development bank will also help India as it will be able to get long-term capital for its huge infrastructure needs as it has maxed out its borrowing capacity at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
There is also a possibility that Modi will push for setting up of the headquarters of this bank in New Delhi.
The South-South cooperation, with this development, will see a new height which has been ruing about the US and European problems for long. We can call it a step towards building a new world order where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words will be crucial.