Image Source : MEA (X) The representatives of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Moscow, with diplomat Dammu Ravi (extreme left) representing EAM S Jaishankar

Moscow: India on Monday welcomed Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia as new members of the BRICS grouping as their representatives attended a key meeting of the bloc hosted by Russia, which took over the year-long membership of BRICS on January 1. The Indian delegation was represented by senior diplomat Dammu Ravi in Nizhny Novgorod, in western Russia

“Secy (ER) Dammu Ravi led the Indian delegation at the BRICS Foreign Ministers‘ Meeting hosted by the Russian Federation on 10 June in Nizhny Novgorod. A significant meeting in the format of expanded BRICS family. India whole heartedly welcomes the new membership,” wrote Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

The ministers at the meeting welcomed “the active participation of the new members of BRICS, the Ministers assured continued support to their seamless and full integration into BRICS cooperation mechanisms”, according to an official statement. The ministers also exchanged views on major global and regional trends and issues.

All sides agreed on specific norms, such as multilateralism, upholding of international law, comprehensive reform of the United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commitment to a successful COP29, BRICS coordination on global health, condemning unilateral and discriminatory protectionist measures, open and transparent WTO, reforms in global financial architecture and more.

The meeting on Monday was the first ministerial meeting following BRICS expansion in 2023 when Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE joined Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as full-fledged BRICS members. Argentina was also approved for admission within the bloc, however, its President Javier Milei withdrew saying the timing was “not opportune”.

Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA, led the Indian delegation at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nizhny Novgorod. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi were also present at the meeting. Usually, the External Affairs Minister attends such meetings, but S Jaishankar was re-appointed only on Monday, so he could not make it to Russia.

BRICS under Russia’s presidency

As Moscow assumed the presidency of BRICS, Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said the grouping has become a 10-nation body now with Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joining it as new members, adding work on modalities to induct new categories of partner nations would start now.

The Russian President said BRICS is attracting an ever-increasing number of supporters and like-minded countries that share its underlying principles such as sovereign equality, openness, consensus, and aspiration to form a multi-polar international order and a fair global financial and trading system.

Russia’s presidency features more than 250 various events, with a BRICS summit in Kazan in October 2024 being the central one, according to local media reports. Putin also said that 30 more countries are prepared to join the multi-dimensional agenda of the BRICS.

What is BRICS?

The grouping took shape in September 2006 and it originally comprised Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). It was renamed as BRICS after South Africa was accepted as a full member in September 2010. With Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as its members, BRICS represents a quarter of the global economy and it has been a major engine of global economic growth over the years.

Putin said enhancing the role of BRICS in the international monetary system, expanding inter-banking cooperation as well as boosting the use of national currencies in mutual trade will be areas of focus of the Russian presidency of the grouping. He said the priorities will include promoting cooperation in science, high technology, healthcare, environmental protection, culture and sports.

India hosted the BRICS Summit in 2012, 2016 and 2021. The theme for India’s Chairship in 2021 was ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.

(with inputs from agencies)

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