NEW DELHI, Aug 21: Ahead of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, India on Monday said it has a
“positive intent” and an “open mind” for the expansion of the five-nation grouping.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the South African city from August 22 to 24 to attend the
15th BRICS summit at the invitation of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It will be the first in-person summit of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) since 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already decided not to travel to Johannesburg for the summit.
The BRICS brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per
cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade.
The prime minister is scheduled to leave for Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.
From Johannesburg, Modi will travel to Greece where he will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime
Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on broadening overall ties between the two countries.
Asked at a media briefing whether Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks on the
sidelines of the BRICS summit, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra only said that the schedule of prime
minister’s bilateral meetings is being finalised.
Modi will also participate in a special event ‘BRICS — Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue’ being
organised after the summit of the five-nation grouping.
“We have a positive intent and an open mind when it comes to BRICS expansion,” Kwatra said.
Expansion of BRICS is a major agenda item of the summit. Around 23 countries have submitted their
applications for membership of the grouping.
The foreign secretary said the modalities for inclusion of new members into the BRICS are being
discussed among the Sherpas of the grouping.
“I would not want to prejudge the outcome of the discussions,” he said.
Asked whether the BRICS is contemplating having a common currency, the foreign secretary said
there are several prerequisites for such a common currency framework.
He said the discussion in BRICS has focussed on trade in the national currency.
Modi’s visit to Athens on August 25 assumed significance as it would be the first prime ministerial
visit from India since then PM Indira Gandhi visited Greece in September 1983.
Then Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou visited India thrice — in November 1984 for Indira
Gandhi’s funeral, in January 1985 to attend a summit on nuclear disarmament and in January 1986
on a bilateral state visit as the chief guest for the Republic Day function. (PTI)