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BRICS Summit 2023: 'Have To Make Societies Future-Ready,' PM Modi In Plenary Session Address

Modi is conducting several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. However, there has been no confirmation yet on the possibility of bilateral talks between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

PM Narendra Modi at BRICS Summit 2023
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The 15th BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit is underway in Johannesburg in South Africa and a series of bilateral meetings are being conducted on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the annual summit last evening, held talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa today ahead of the plenary sessions. Speculations are rife of a possible meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

PM Modi also delivered his remarks during the plenary session of BRICS Summit after the leaders of the grouping joined for a group photo.

BRICS embarked on a long and amazing journey in the last two decades, PM Modi said at Plenary Session I of the BRICS Summit. 

“We are already working on the BRICS satellite constellation, but to move a step further, we should think about establishing a BRICS space exploration consortium,” PM Modi said.

“To give a new path to the BRICS agenda, India had put forth suggestions on issues such as railway research network, close cooperation between MSMEs, online BRICS database and startup firms. I am happy that a lot of progress was made on these issues,” he added.

Speaking on the way forward for BRICS nations, Modi said, "We will have to make our societies future-ready to make BRICS future-ready."

Meanwhile, India took the lead in forging consensus on selecting new members in the five-nation grouping BRICS during the leaders’ retreat. According to a PTI report, significant development was achieved.

Twenty-three countries had submitted their applications to join the BRICS. Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Argentina emerged as strong contenders for the grouping's membership, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a briefing in New Delhi ahead of the summit.

Modi-Xi Meeting On The Cards?

Modi is conducting several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. However, there has been no confirmation from the Centre on the possibility of bilateral talks between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Speculations emerged that the two leaders may meet in view of the LAC situation where Indian and Chinese troops remain locked in a confrontation in eastern Ladakh despite extensive diplomatic and military talks.

The last time Modi and Xi had a brief encounter was at the G20 dinner in Bali last November. The Chinese President has arrived for the summit today.

If a bilateral meeting takes place between them, it will be their first since the India-China border standoff began in May 2020.

Putin Joins Virtually

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who joined virtually due to the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against him related to Ukraine war, took multiple shots at the West on the opening day of the BRICS Summit.

He delivered a 17-minute pre-recorded speech and spoke on the war in Ukraine and Russia's relationship with the West. The West's attempts to punish and isolate Russia financially for sending troops into Ukraine are an “illegitimate sanctions practice and illegal freezing of assets of sovereign states, which essentially amounts to them trampling upon all the basic norms and rules of free trade,” Putin said.

The bloc, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is holding its first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic. Putin, however, is joining virtually after his travel to South Africa was complicated by an International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued for him in March over the abduction of children from Ukraine.

Russia will also be represented in person by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Overall, around 1,200 delegates from the five BRICS nations and dozens of other developing countries are expected in Johannesburg, including more than 40 heads of state, according to Ramaphosa. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also is expected to attend.

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