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China backs India hosting BRICS

Modi and Xi at the Mamallapuram Summit in October 2019

China on Monday expressed its “support” for India hosting this year’s BRICS summit, which also raises the possibility of President Xi Jinping visiting India provided the Covid-19 situation improves and world leaders can travel. The development comes amid the thaw in the Ladakh stand-off between the two countries.

“We support India in hosting this year’s meeting,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “We will work with India and other members to strengthen communication and dialogue, and consolidate the three-pillar cooperation,” referring to economic cooperation, political and security cooperation, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Current expectations in diplomatic circles are that given the hectic pace of vaccinations, the Covid situation would have improved by the second half of the year and the BRICS ( Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit may not have to be held virtually. Other major summits in Europe and the United Kingdom are likely to take place this summer, before the BRICS meet.

Mr. Wang, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing, expressed China’s support to India hosting the meet in response to a question on whether the border crisis would impact the summit.

“In recent years, BRICS has seen greater solidarity, deeper practical cooperation, and greater influence,” he said. “It is now a positive, stable and constructive force in international affairs. China attaches importance to this mechanism and we are committed to deepening strategic partnership within it to consolidate solidarity and cooperation.”

China also was in favour of working with the grouping to “expand BRICS-plus cooperation and work for greater progress under BRICS, and help the world to defeat COVID-19, resume economic growth and improve global governance,” he added.

Preliminary discussions on scheduling a date for the BRICS summit were held during Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s recent visit to Moscow.