Highlights of the 2017 BRICS Summit
The annual BRICS summit was held in Xiamen, the southeastern Fujian Province of China, from September 3 to 5. “BRICS” is an acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The summit saw the leaders of the five BRICS nations, namely the Brazilian President Michel Temer, the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chinese President Xi Jinping and, the South African President Jacob Zuma.
The ninth edition of the Summit was centered on the theme of “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, and it did indeed lead to discussions on matters of international and regional concern. The leaders of the BRICS nations signed the 43-page “Xiamen Declaration” discussing Economic Partnership, investment cooperation and condemning terrorism in all forms and manifestations. It reaffirmed that those responsible for committing, organizing or supporting terrorist attacks must be held accountable and it expressed concern over violence by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic. The North Korean Nuclear test was condemned by all the leaders present, and they stated that the matter should only be settled through peaceful means and direct dialogue between all the parties concerned. The Xiamen Declaration committed to the enhancement of the BRICS nations on the issue of climate change and called upon the countries to fully implement the Paris Agreement.[i]
PM Modi also held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Summit with the Russian President and thereafter with the Brazilian President, where they discussed a partnership based on a “common global vision and shared democratic values”. Modi also held a bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping. This is the first time that the two met since the Doklam stand-off. They discussed that it was necessary to establish better and closer communication between the defence and security personnel of the two countries. They also agreed on the fact that the two countries are developmental opportunities for each other and not threats, and therefore it was established that it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border area. The conversation was forward-looking and did not look backward, even at recent and important events like the Doklam/Donglang Stand-off.
PM Modi, in his speech, talked about how the BRICS nations have collaborated in areas such as agriculture, environment, energy, and sports. He stated that the developing nations were in what he called as the “mission-mode” to eradicate poverty, ensure the health, sanitation, food security, skills, gender equality, energy and education to their citizens.[ii]
PM Modi thereafter left for Myanmar, where he will spend two days, it is his first bilateral visit to the neighbouring country. This comes at a time when Myanmar is under global scrutiny for violence against the Rohingya Muslims.
[i]BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration, (September 5, 2017) http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2017/sep/p20179401.pdf
[ii]BRICS Summit 2017 highlights: GST is India’s biggest ever economic reform, says PM Modi, (September 5, 2017), http://indianexpress.com/article/india/brics-summit-2017-live-updates-narendra-modi-xi-jinping-india-china-russia-brasil-south-africa-4827533/
Author: Jui Masurekar
College: Pravin Gandhi College of Law