BRICS is Modi’s first major global test

India’s image is extremely positive internationally at the moment and Mr Modi’s personal standing, fresh from his impressive electoral victory

The Brics summit that starts Monday at Fortaleza, Brazil, will be a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political and diplomatic prowess. It is a bigger challenge than his diplomatic breakthrough with the leaders of our Saarc neighbours, who he had invited to his swearing-in as Prime Minister in May. At Fortaleza, he will be striding a much larger, more demanding scenario as the Brics nations are no longer a regional but a global grouping. Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) represents 40 per cent of the world’s population and has a collective GDP of $24 trillion.

Mr Modi’s presence at Fortaleza has infinite potential: all eyes will be on what he achieves at his first meeting as PM with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. He will also meet the leaders of 11 other Latin American nations like Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Venezuela who have been invited to attend the Brics meet by Brazil Prez Dilma Rouseff.

The potential for political and financial gain is huge, and perhaps the political importance transcends trade gains. India has for several years now been trying hard to get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, but there has been much resistance from countries like the United States and China to this country’s entry into this select club. Mr Modi can use this opportunity to enhance his already good rapport with China’s President Xi for this, and of course over the handling of simmering border issues. In Brazil, he will be able to talk to the Chinese leader, hopefully in an atmosphere of bonhomie, and away from the pressures created by the media demanding a tit-for-tat response to incursions on the border.

India’s image is extremely positive internationally at the moment and Mr Modi’s personal standing, fresh from his impressive electoral victory, is an advantage that he should exploit to the hilt. Given his political acumen and fairly good understanding of human nature, he should give a clear signal to his Brics partners, as well as to the Latin American leaders whom he will meet, that a new political era has begun in India. Many of these countries are yet to be fully explored trade-wise by Indian firms and businesses. With minister of state for finance and commerce Nirmala Sitharaman and finance secretary Arvind Mayaram as part of the Prime Minister’s delegation, there is much that can be achieved.

High on the agenda of the Brics summit is, of course, the proposed $100 billion Brics Development Bank that is due to be inaugurated. It is hoped that some outstanding issues that had been delaying this will be resolved soon to everyone’s satisfaction.

( Source : dc )
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