PM to meet Chinese President, Putin at BRICS summit


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold talks with new Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, next week.

The prime minister will be travelling to Durban March 25-28 for the Fifth BRICS Summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

He will also meet with the African leaders at the summit, said informed sources.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, besides other senior officials.

The prime minister is to hand over the BRICS chair to South Africa at the Durban summit. The bloc together commands nearly 26 percent of the world's geographical area, and 43 percent of the world's population.

The "sherpas" or diplomats of the five nations are meeting on March 24 to resolve any pending issues, a source said.

The BRICS nations together command 17 percent of global trade and are recipient of 11 percent of global FDI. The five nations also command 25 percent of global GDP in terms of purchasing power parity and approximately one fifth of global nominal GDP (over 19 percent), the source said.

The Durban summit will be followed by the BRICS-Africa Dialogue forum on March 27.

Talks on setting up a BRICS Development Bank are progressing well with four meetings having been held in the span of one year between the finance ministries, besides numerous communications between their officials.

The finance ministries are looking at the viability of setting up the development bank. The finance ministers are meeting on March 26, and a clearer picture would be available after that, the source said.

The BRICS countries are also looking at the economic viability of trading in local currency, the source said.

With Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi having evinced keenness to join the bloc, the issue is to be discussed at the meeting of sherpas.

There will be four deliverables at the summit - the eThekwini Declaration, setting up of BRICS Business Council, setting up a Consortium of BRICS think tanks and two agreements among development banks (BRICS multilateral infrastructure co-financing agreement for Africa and BRICS Multilteral cooperation and co-financing agreement for sustainable development).