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Beyond Doklam: Modi hopeful of ‘positive’ BRICS summit

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brics-group-goaXIAMEN (China) The resolution of the Doklam border standoff between India and China appears to have paved the way for a successful BRICS summit in Xiamen, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing that he was looking forward to “productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China.”

“India had the privilege of hosting the previous Summit in Goa in October last year. I look forward to building upon the results and outcomes of the Goa Summit,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter. Mr Modi will arrive in Xiamen for a three-day visit on September 3.

“I also look forward to productive discussions and positive outcomes that will support the agenda of a stronger BRICS partnership under the chairmanship of China,” the Indian leader said.

In his message, Mr Modi underscored the importance of BRICS as a force for upholding world peace, a veiled reference to the potential and role of the BRICS grouping as a platform for easing tensions between member countries. “India attaches high importance to the role of BRICS that has begun a second decade of its partnership for progress and peace. BRICS has important contributions to make in addressing global challenges and upholding world peace and security,” Mr Modi said.

The coastal city of Xiamen, located off the South China Sea, has a special resonance for Chinese President Xi Jinping as he served as the vice-mayor of the once shabby place thirty two years ago which he helped transform into a vibrant metropolis and a hub of economic dynamism.

For Xi, hosting the 9th BRICS summit, themed “Stronger Partnership “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future,” is clearly the high moment of his presidency as he braces to welcome the leaders of BRICS countries and five developing economies.

brics-modi-xiThe 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen will mark the beginning of another decade of BRICS, with Chinese President Xi Jinping promising “a golden decade” of BRICS. The Xiamen summit is expected to culminate in a vision statement for consolidation and expansion of the BRICS to entrench it as the most influential forum of emerging economies and South-South cooperation. “The BRICS countries are like five fingers, short and long if extended, but a powerful fist if clenched together,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said, quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The 72-day long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on the Doklam plateau, which ended on August 28 after mutual withdrawal of troops, placed India-China relations under enormous strain, but the two Asian giants managed to not only resolve the crisis through quiet and intense diplomacy, but also managed to salvage the BRICS summit. Looking ahead, it seems the two emerging countries have decided to compartmentalize their bilateral relations and cooperation in pluralistic and multilateral forums like BRICS. In this regard, PM Modi’s bilateral talks with his Chinese host Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit will be crucial in mapping the way forward for this conflict-prone relationship between Asia’s leading economies.

 

 


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Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, a portal and e-magazine focused on international affairs, emerging powers and the India Story.

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