BRICS should coordinate in key areas of development: PM

"The traditional sources of economic growth are still under stress, even as fresh uncertainties have emerged as a result of recent developments in different parts of the world," Singh said in a statement ahead of his departure for a two-nation tour to China and Kazakhstan.

Singh, who would be attending the BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- leaders meeting in Sanya in China, said if the member nations can cooperate, "our positions on some key areas such as sustainable development, balanced growth, energy and food security, reform of international financial institutions and balanced trade, that will be to our advantage."

Singh, who would be attending the third summit of BRICS grouping since the first stand alone meeting in 2009, said the conclave would see the participation of South Africa for the first time.

"India welcomes South Africa's membership of BRICS, which will provide an African perspective to our deliberations", he said.

The Prime Minister said he looked forward to a wide-ranging exchange of views with the BRICS leaders on the state of the world economy and the contribution which the grouping can make in sustaining the process of global economic and financial recovery.
Noting that all BRICS countries are members of the G-20 and the United Nations Security Council, he said that the experience of working with each other in these forums has been positive and holds promise.

"This gives the Sanya Summit, whose theme is 'Broad Vision and Shared Prosperity', special significance," he said.

Singh said during his stay in Sanya, he looked forward to his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

"The India-China relationship is a key relationship which has now acquired global significance," the Prime Minister said.

On the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Singh said he would have bilateral talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and South African President Jacob Zuma. "Our relations with these countries are very warm and substantive", he said.

During the five-day tour, Singh will also pay a two-day bilateral visit from April 15 to Kazakhstan where the two countries are expected to sign at least six pacts, including an inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.

The Prime Minister, who will be visiting Kazakhstan for the first time, said, "It is an important partner of India in a region which has always displayed special empathy and goodwill towards India".

Singh said he would build upon the successful visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to India in 2009 and seek to expand the frontiers of cooperation with "that great country".
There was immense potential for moving forward in areas such as political and security cooperation, trade and investment, energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, information technology and capacity building, he said.

"My visit signals India's abiding interest in Central Asia that is rooted in the history and culture of this region," the Prime Minister said.

Briefing reporters on the visit yesterday, Manbir Singh, Secretary (Economic Relations) in External Affairs Ministry, had said that the BRIC Summit is expected to discuss the volatile situation in Gulf and North African countries, including Libya, considering the "feeling of uncertainty" it has created with regard to energy supplies and prices.

Asked whether Libya would specifically be discussed, he said it was an "extremely important issue" as it affects all the BRICS nations and is expected to be deliberated upon.

He said at the Summit, India would like to discuss and understand the viewpoint of other member countries on the international financial and economic situation, inflation that is affecting several countries and volatility in currency.

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