(Article) BRIC and IBSA Summits

BRIC and IBSA Summits

The two Summits has discussed global economic crisis besides ways to enhance cooperation among the member countries of the two groupings. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Brazil on a two day visit in April 2010 during which he attended the Brazil—Russia—India—China (BRIC) and India—Brazil— South Africa (IBSA) Summits and held bilateral meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The Prime Minister reached from Washington on the second leg of his eight nation tour. At the 2nd BRIC Summit, Iran’s nuclear issue and the controversy surrounding it also discussed under the grouping’s format by Singh, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Brazilian President Lula da Silva. Thiswas the first time that Iran has been part of focussed agenda of the grouping.

BRIC is a significant grouping comprising two of the world’s leading energy producers Russia and China and top energy consumers India and China, which officials say forms the basis for natural synergy.

In the BRIC format, Foreign Ministers of the four countries have met regularly on the sidelines of international conferences, including the UNGeneral Assembly.

The BRIC countries, representing 40 per cent of the global population, are among the largest and fastest growing economies with rich human and material resources. They represent the future of the global economic landscape.

With a similarity of views on several issues like climate change and reform of global institutions, including theUN, the four countries have been fine tuning their collective approaches to these issues. In the IBSA format too, India, Brazil and South Africa, the three fastest growing economies of three continents, have evolved common and coordinated approaches to the challenges like global economic crisis and climate change besides pushing efforts to enhance cooperation among themselves.

After the IBSA Summit, India, Brazil and South Africa signd two trilateralMoUs. These are in the areas of solar energy and science and technology. An MoU in the field of sport is also likely to be inked. “These groupings reflect the growing role of emerging economies in shaping the global economic order,” the Prime Minister had said in a statement.

He said the IBSA process has come of age as it today encompasses a wide range of activities which supplement the excellent bilateral relations that India enjoys with each of these countries.  “Our coordination onimportant international issues has expanded, and our trilateral cooperation is beginning to bear fruit in many sectors,” the Prime Minister had said.

“We have a high stake in the revival of the global economy, an open trading system, energy security, combating climate change and addressing non traditional threats to international security,” he said. Singh also held bilateral meetings with the Chinese President and Russian President. Ahead of his meeting with Hu, Singh said in Washington that India and China were working very hard to find a “practical” and “pragmatic” solution to the boundary question and it would “take time” to get resolved.

Noting that both countries “recognise that it would take time”, he said both the nations have agreed that pending the resolution of the border issues, peace and tranquility should bemaintained along the Line of Actual Control and by and large that situation prevails on the ground.

On the overall Sino India relations, he said the economic content of the relationship has increased significantly, with China today being India’s largest trading partner.

There are large Chinese investments in our country and there are large Indian investments in China. “On the economic front the relationship is moving in the right direction,” he said.

On multilateral issues, he said, there was a recognition in China that there was a similarity of approach between the two countries and they can gain by working together.

In this context, he referred to the Copenhagen conference on climate change last December during which India and China worked closely to block developed nations from imposing their agenda IBSA to develop satellites, cooperate on global issues.

India, Brazil and South Africa decided to jointly develop two satellites and forged closer cooperation on global issues like UN reforms, climate change and world trade talks. This emerged after the fourth India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) summit.

The two satellites will be used for studying climate to help agriculture sector in the three countries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that IBSA besides the embodiment of south-south cooperation had entered the phase of consolidation and implementation of initiatives.

He said IBSA has immense prospects for the people of the three countries and the right direction was being provided to it by strengthening cooperation in science and technology, energy, ocean’s research, which were the hallmark of the forum.

“OBS has developed into a vibrant organisation which will play important role in world affairs,” Dr. Singh said.

Dr. Singh said the three developing economies and democracies shared similar views with regard to reform of global institutions of governance like the UN.

Mr. Zuma said that IBSA has a natural dialogue forum and he has great confidence in its future. He said the decision to develop the satellite jointly was symbolic of the fact that the forum has entered a new phase.

He pointed out that them ember countries had common positions on the Doha round of WTO talks. He pressed for early conclusions of the Doha round of trade talks saying it can’t be put indefinitely.

Mr. Zuma said the IBSA was rapidly emerging as an important forum for engagement. “But we are yet to fully explore the full potential of this forum,” he said.

The South African president, whose country will host the next IBSA summit, said there was an opportunity for expanding cooperation in science and technology and reinforcing shared developmental objectives.

Noting that all the three IBSA countries were influential in their own regions, Mr. Zuma said, “We are in a position to make contributions to a global debate. This became clear at the Copenhagen Summit on climate change when IBSA and China played a key role in reaching an agreement.”

He said the four countries were able to reflect the interest of developing nations at the climate meet. He said the IBSA countries were key for reform of global bodies like UN to make them more democratic andmore responsive to the poor.

Mr. Zuma said the three countries needed more coordination on climate change to ensure legally binding agreement on the issue in the next summit in Mexico next year.

BRIC, IBSA nations not keen on Iran sanctions As the United States and its westernallies press ahead with efforts to impose tough penalties on Iran, leaders and officials from two major international groupings BRIC and IBSA meeting in Brasilia this week took a contrary view, agreeing that new sanctions would not help resolve the nuclear issue.

On the sidelines, India’s national security adviser, Shiv ShankarMenon, took part in a meeting of BRIC senior security officials alongside Nikolai Patrushev of Russia and Dai Binguuo of China. Earlier in the week, Mr. Men on also met with his U.S. counterpart, James L. Jones, who provided a detailed description of Washington’s current approach to the Iran issue.

Giving an account of the intra-BRIC exchanges on Iran, a senior Indian official said, “All of us agreed that we don’t think sanctions will help solve the current problems with Iran.” In addition, there was agreement that dialogue and diplomacy were essential and that the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in settling the Iran nuclear docket had to be re-established.

The official said the BRIC nations agreed Iran had the right to nuclear energy but that it also has an obligation to set at rest international fears about the nature of its nuclear programme.

Though the BRIC summit statement did not touch on Iran, the IBSA communiqué said the three leaders “reiterated the need for a peaceful and diplomatic solution of the issue”.

Indian officials said President Lula would be going to Iran next month and that his visit had added significance since Brazil was a non-permanent member of the Security Council through 2011. Another factor which might have a bearing on sanctions was that Lebanon–whose government has tended not to support the U.S. on Iran would assume the rotating chair of the UNSC in May.

India buys a significant amount of crude oil from Iran. Until 2009, Indian companies like Reliance also sold refined products to Iran but have withdrawn from the market as American pressure on banks around the world has made it more difficult to open letters of credit.

An analysis

Summits of IBSA and BRIC nations, India and Brazil were the lucky two who had overlapping membership in both forums. But South Africa, which is only part of the former, would very much like BRIC to become BRICS, while China, which is part of the latter as well as of the climate change ginger group of BASIC with India, Brazil and South Africa — would not be averse to IBSA becoming CHIBSA.

Equation Reversed

Last year, when the Russian hosts at Ekaterinburg held back-to-back summits of BRIC and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the equation was reversed. Russia and China belong to both groupings, while India, which has mere observer status in the SCO, agreed to have Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend that summit only after receiving assurances that he would have full speaking rights and would not have to leave the room when the real members met.

On the sidelines of the April 15 IBSA and BRIC meets in Brasilia, President Hu Jintao of China held a bilateral meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Lula da Silva, and the two countries signed a number of agreements. One of these was an 'action plan', and buried deep within it was this proposal: “The two sides will discuss conducting long-term research on the potential for furthering the development of trade relations between IBSA and China”.

Not Enthusiastic

Some in Brazil have quietly been suggesting Beijing's inclusion in IBSA -- China is, after all, its largest trading partner -- but India and, to a lesser extent, South Africa, which sees IBSA as a great vehicle for itself on the world stage -- are not enthusiastic.

“Well, IBSA has a character of its own-- three large democracies coming together,” Prime Minister Singh told reporters whom anaged to throw a question to him on China joining the trilateral forum. Hewas standing with his  delegation in the lobby of Itamaraty Palace, home to the Brazilian foreign ministry, on Thursday evening, waiting for his motorcade in between the IBSA and BRIC summits. “I think IBSA has now come into its own”.

The reference to democracies was not accidental. It was present in Dr. Singh's speech to the IBSA plenary and the final summit communiqué spoke of shared democratic traditions. For Indian officials, this is what provides additional glue to a grouping that joins India with the most important powers of Africa and South America. It helps, of course, that as a criterion for club membership, China would not quallify.


Asked about the expansion of BRIC, the Prime Minister said this was an idea of Goldman Sachs. “We are now trying to give it some shape, flesh it out. Let us see”.

Like IBSA, the expansion of BRIC is problematic because the majority of its members fear the dilution of the forum's core competence: fast rising economies with a growing footprint in the global economy and system. BRIC today accounts for a little under a quarter of world output. The South African economy is not yet in that league.

Other countries that have expressed an interest in joining BRIC are Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey. The Turks are also apparently interested in IBSA.

“What makes BRICa good fit today is that the four countries have complementary factor endowments and national skills,” a senior Indian official told The Hindu. If China has solid manufacturing and huge financial clout, Russia has energy and advanced technology in certain fields, while Brazil is an agricultural superpower with strong manufacturing and India has a comparative advantage in IT, pharmaceuticals as well as agriculture. In an article written on the eve of the BRIC summit, President Dmitri Medvedev spoke of the four countries collaborating with each other in nuclear technology, space technology, aircraft manufacturing, nanotechnology and other fields. But some in the Indian establishment remain sceptical of doing too much with BRIC, fearing a backlash from the U.S.

II BRIC SUMMIT: Joint Statement

We, the leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, met in Brasília on 15 April 2010 to discuss major issues of the international agenda as well as concrete steps to move forward the cooperation and coordination within BRIC.

We have agreed on the following:

Common Vision and Global Governance

We share the perception that the world is undergoing major and swift changes that highlight the need for corresponding transformations in global governance in all relevant areas.

We underline our support for a multi polar, equitable and democratic world order, based on international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, coordinated action and collective decision-making of all States.

We stress the central role played by the G-20 in combating the crisis through unprecedented levels of coordinated action. We welcome the fact that the G-20 was confirmed as the premier forum for international economic coordination and cooperation of all its member states. Compared to previous arrangements, the G-20 is broader, more inclusive, diverse, representative and effective. We call upon all its member states to undertake further efforts to implement jointly the decisions adopted at the three G-20 Summits.

We advocate the need for the G-20 to be proactive and formulate a coherent strategy for the post-crisis period. We stand ready to make a joint contribution to this effort.

We express our strong commitment to multilateral diplomacy with the United Nations playing the central role in dealing with global challenges and threats. In this respect, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative, so that it can deal with today’s global challenges more effectively. We reiterate the importance we attach to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support their aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.

We believe the deepened and broadened dialogue and cooperation of the BRIC countries is conducive not only to serving common interests of emerging market economies and developing countries, but also to building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. We have agreed upon steps to promote dialogue and cooperation among our countries in an incremental, proactive, pragmatic, open and transparent way.

International Economic and Financial Issues

The world economic situation has improved since our first meeting in June 2009, in Ekaterinburg. We welcome the resumption of economic growth, in which emerging market economies are playing a very important role. However, we recognize that the foundation of world economic recovery is not yet solid, with uncertainties remaining. We call upon all states to strength enmacro economic cooperation, jointly secure world economic recovery and achieve a strong, sustainable and balanced growth. We reiterate our determination to make positive efforts in maintaining domestic economic recovery and promoting development in our own countries and

We underline the importance of maintaining relative stability of major reserve currencies and sustainability of fiscal policies in order to achieve a strong, long-term balanced economic growth.

We are convinced that emerging market economies and developing countries have the potential to play an even larger and active role as engines of economic growth and prosperity, while at the same time commit to work together with other countries towards reducing imbalances in global economic development and fostering social inclusion.

G-20members,with a significant contribution from BRIC countries, have greatly increased resources available to the IMF. We support the increase of capital, under the principle of fair burden-sharing, of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and of the International Finance Corporation, in addition to more robust, flexible and agile client-driven support for developing economies from multilateral development banks.

Despite promising positive signs, much remains to be done. We believe that the world needs today a reformed and more stable financial architecture that will make the global economy less prone and more resilient to future crises, and that there is a greater need for a more stable, predictable and diversified international monetary system.

We will strive to achieve an ambitious conclusion to the ongoing and long overdue reforms of the Bretton Woods institutions. The IMF and the World Bank urgently need to address their legitimacy deficits. Reforming these institutions’ governance structures requires first and foremost a substantial shift in voting power in favor of emerging market economies and developing countries to bring their participation in decision making in line with their relative weight in the world economy. We call for the voting power reform of the World Bank to be fulfilled in the upcoming Spring Meetings, and expect the quota reform of the IMF to be concluded by the G-20 Summit in November this year. We do also agree on the need for an open and merit based selection method, irrespective of nationality, for the heading positions of the IMF and the World Bank. Moreover, staff of these institutions needs to better reflect the diversity of their membership. There is a special need to increase participation of developing countries. The international community must deliver a result worthy of the expectations we all share for these institutions within the agreed timeframe or run the risk of seeing them fade into obsolescence.

In the interest of promoting international economic stability, we have asked our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to look into regional monetary arrangements and discuss modalities of cooperation between our countries in this area. In order to facilitate trade and investment, we will study feasibilities of monetary cooperation, including local currency trade settlement arrangement between our countries.

Recent events have shattered the belief about the self regulating nature of financial markets. Therefore, there is a pressing need to foster and strengthen cooperation regarding the regulation and supervision of all segments, institutions and instruments of financial markets. We remain committed to improve our own national regulations, to push for the reform of the international financial regulatory system and to work closely with international standard setting bodies, including the Financial Stability Board.

International Trade

We stress the importance of the multilateral trading system, embodied in the World Trade Organization, for providing an open, stable, equitable and non discriminatory environment for international trade. In this connection, we commit ourselves and urge all states to resist all forms of trade protection is mand fight disguised restrictions on trade. We concur in the need for a comprehensive and balanced outcome of the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks, in a manner that fulfills its mandate as a "development round", based on the progress already made, including with regard to modalities. We take note and strongly support Russia's bid for accession to the WTO.


We reiterate the importance of the UN Millennium Declaration and the need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We underscore the importance of preventing a potential setback to the efforts of poor countries aimed at achieving MDGs due to the effects of the economic and financial crisis. We should also make sustained efforts to achieve the MDGs by 2015, including through technical cooperation and financial support to poor countries in implementation of development policies and social protection for their populations. We expect the UNMDG Summit, in September 2010, to promote the implementation of MDGs through policy recommendations. We stress that sustainable development models and paths of developing countries should be fully respected and necessary policy space of developing countries should be guaranteed. 

The poorest countries have been the hardest hit by the economic and financial crisis. The commitments regarding the aid to the developing states, especially those related to the MDGs, should be fulfilled, and there should be no reduction in development assistance. An inclusive process of growth for the world economy is not only a matter of solidarity but also an issue of strategic importance for global political and economic stability.


We express our satisfaction with the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development in Moscow, where they discussed ways of promoting quadripartite cooperation, with particular attention to family farming. We are convinced that this will contribute towards global food production and food security. We welcome their decision to create an agricultural information base system of the BRIC countries, to develop a strategy for ensuring access to food for vulnerable population, to reduce the negative impact of climate change on food security, and to enhance agriculture technology cooperation and innovation.

Fight against poverty

We call upon the international community to make all the necessary efforts to fight poverty, social exclusion and inequality bearing in mind the special needs of developing countries, especially LDCs, small islands and African Countries. We support technical and financial cooperation as means to contribute to the achievement of sustainable social development, with social protection, full employment, and decent work policies and programmes, giving special attention to the most vulnerable groups, such as the poor, women, youth, migrants and persons with disabilities.


We recognize that energy is an essential resource for improving the standard of living of our peoples and that access to energy is of paramount importance to economic growth with equity and social inclusion. We will aim to develop cleaner, more affordable and sustainable energy systems, to promote access to energy and energy efficient technologies and practices in all sectors. We will aim to diversify our energy mix by increasing, where appropriate, the contribution of renewable energy sources, and will encourage the cleaner, more efficient use of fossil fuels and other fuels. In this regard, we reiterate our support to the international cooperation in the field  of energy efficiency.

We recognize the potential of new, emerging, and environmentally friendly technologies for diversifying energy mix and the creation of jobs. In this regard we will encourage, as appropriate, the sustainable development, production and use of biofuels. In accordance with national priorities, we will work together to facilitate the use of renewable energy, through international cooperation and the sharing of experiences on renewable energy, including biofuels technologies and policies.

We believe that BRIC member countries can cooperate in training, R&D, Consultancy services and technology transfer, in the energy sector.

Climate Change

We acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat which requires strengthened global action. We commit ourselves to promote the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 6th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, in Mexico, to achieve a comprehensive, balanced and binding result to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and the Protocol. We believe that the Convention and the Protocol provide the framework for international negotiations on climate change. The negotiations in Mexico should be more inclusive, transparent, and should result in outcomes that are fair and effective in addressing the challenge of climate change, while reflecting the principles of the Convention, especially the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.


We condemn terrorist acts in all forms and manifestations. We note that the fight against international terrorism must be undertaken with due respect to the UN Charter, existing international conventions and protocols, the UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions relating to international terrorism, and that the prevention of terrorist acts is as important as the repression of terrorism and its financing. In this context, we urge early conclusion of negotiations in the UN General Assembly of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and its adoption by all MemberStates. Brazil and China express their sympathy and solidarity with the people and Governments of Russia and India which suffered from recent barbaric terrorist attacks. Terrorism cannot be justified by any reason.

Alliance of Civilizations

We affirm the importance of encouraging the dialogue among civilizations, cultures, religions and peoples. In this respect, we support the “Alliance of Civilizations”, a United Nations’ initiative aimed at building bridges, mutual knowledge and understanding around the world. We praise the Brazilian decision to host, in Rio de Janeiro, in May 2010, the 3rd Global Forum and confirm our intention to be present at the event, in appropriate high level.


We reaffirm our solidarity towards the Haitian people, who have been struggling under dire circumstances since the earthquake of January 12th, and reiterate our commitment to gather efforts with the international community in order to help rebuilding the country, under the guidance of the Haitian government, and according to the priorities established by the Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti.


We welcome the following sectoral initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation among our countries:

  1. The first Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development;
  2. The Meetings of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks;
  3. The Meetings of High Representatives for Security Issues;
  4. The I Exchange Program for Magistrates and Judges, of BRIC countries, held in March 2010 in Brazil following the signature in 2009 of the Protocol of Intent among the BRIC countries’ Supreme Courts;
  5. The first Meeting of Development Banks;
  6. The first Meeting of the Heads of the National Statistical Institutions;
  7. The Conference of Competition Authorities;
  8. The first Meeting of Cooperatives;
  9. The first Business Forum;
  10. The Conference of think tanks.

28. We also endorse other important manifestations of our desire to deepen our relationship, such as:

  1. The joint publication by our respective national statistical institutions which is going to be released today;
  2. A feasibility study for developing a joint BRIC encyclopedia.

29. We reaffirm our commitment to advance cooperation among BRIC countries in science, culture and sports.

We express our confidence in the success of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the 2013 World Student Games in Kazan, the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, the FIFA 2014World Cup in Brazil and the 2016Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

We reaffirm the efforts to strengthen our cooperation and assistance for reduction of natural disasters. Russia and India express their condolences and solidarity with the people and Governments of Brazil and China, for the lives lost in the mudslide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in the earthquake in Yushu, China.


Brazil, Russia and India appreciated the offer of China to host the III BRIC Summit in 2011.

Russia, India and China expressed their profound gratitude to the Government and people of Brazil for hosting the II BRIC Summit.

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