As the world continues to grapple with the economic and geopolitical repercussions of the Ukraine conflict, China will host the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa—Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Thursday in the virtual format. The meeting will give all the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS the much-needed opportunity to hold detailed deliberations on the economic, geopolitical and humanitarian aspects of the conflict, amid a situation where the West led by the United States continues to toughen its stand against Moscow for its military operations against Kyiv. This is the first meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sources told The Daily Guardian that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who will join his counterparts at the BRICS interactions, is set to keep his focus on highlighting the humanitarian crises resulting from the conflict and violence. He will share details of the humanitarian assistance provided by India to the beleaguered people of war-ravaged Ukraine, with the emphasis on what more needs to be done in this area, sources added. “In addition to this, in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the EAM would give Moscow the message that the problem should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. He will also repeat the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that nobody is going to win in this war,” sources said.
“India is neither on the side of West nor on the side of the
rest; it is on the side of peace. This message will be given to all the member states of BRICS,” sources added. In fact, after PM Modi’s productive and fruitful meetings with key European leaders where India’s Ukraine position was appreciated, EAM Jaishankar does not want New Delhi to be seen endorsing any messages that amount to criticising the western countries including the US, officials said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced on Wednesday that: “The meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations will be held on May 19 in a virtual format. The meeting will be hosted by China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and attended by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco França, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.”
In another important development, during the meeting, BRICS Foreign Ministers will also have a dialogue with the Foreign Ministers of emerging markets and developing countries in the “BRICS+” format. China holds the chair of the BRICS this year. About China’s expectations of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Wang Wenbin said that the meeting would send a clear message of unity and make preparations for the annual summit of the five-member bloc.
“We will send a clear message of BRICS countries working together in solidarity, upholding true multilateralism, saying united fighting Covid-19, and promoting peaceful development,” he said. As next month’s BRICS summit is being held in the shadow of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, the Foreign Ministers of the grouping will elaborately discuss the conflict and its economic, political, and humanitarian outcomes.
The BRICS group of countries will hold the 14th edition of their annual summit next month with a focus on a “new era of global development”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be joining the annual summit with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This summit will also be held virtually next month.