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NSA Doval meets Russia’s Patrushev and China’s Wang Yi as BRICS security chiefs gather in Johannesburg

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with other high representatives in charge of security issues in Johannesburg on Monday (Image courtesy: Russian Security Council)

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval spotlighted the linkages between cyber criminals and terrorists – including the use of cyber space for financing, money laundering, radicalizing, lone wolf attacks, recruitment and secured communications – during a key ‘Friends of BRICS’ meeting held in Johannesburg on Monday.

The issue of cybersecurity was discussed at length at the crucial gathering that also included Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi who is now the Director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

With the theme for South Africa’s ongoing BRICS chairship being ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism’, a number of high-level security officials from Africa and the Global South also attended the discussions held at the sidelines of the two-day BRICS NSA meeting.

Besides, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), Iran, Burundi, Egypt, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, UAE and Belarus took part in the meeting, stressing that security heads of BRICS member countries meeting the high representatives in charge of security issues of the ‘Friends of BRICS’ nations will contribute to the formation of a more equitable architecture of international relations.

NSA Doval mentioned the the Global South in particular needs to overcome limitations of resources and India will always remain at the forefront working closely with the developing countries in this endeavour.

He made it clear that the gravity of cyber risks will increase exponentially with the advent of disruptive technologies such as AI, Big Data and Internet of Things and that the techno savvy young generation remains particularly susceptible to spread of extremist ideologies through use of social media sites.

Russia, on the other hand, stated that countries are more interested in deepening cooperation with the powerful five-member BRICS grouping as it has become an “increasingly attractive” format for the Global South and East, having no confrontational or hidden agenda.

“A detailed exchange of views also took place on issues of international information security as a challenge to the countries of the developing world. In particular, it was proposed to continue work on the formation of a universal international legal regime in the digital environment, based on the principles of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in internal affairs,” said a statement from Patrushev’s office in Moscow.

It added that the intention to move towards a multipolar system based on the principles of sovereign equality, trust and indivisibility of security, free and original development of all countries and peoples was confirmed at Monday’s meeting.

“The importance was noted of continuing a confidential dialogue, taking into account the interest of all participants in the world community in solving problems of global security. Attention is drawn to the fact that BRICS is becoming an increasingly attractive format for many states of the Global South and East, as it does not have any confrontational or hidden agenda,” stated the Russian Security Council.

NSA Doval is also scheduled to hold several important bilateral meetings during his visit to South Africa.

The BRICS brings together some 3.2 billion people and is among the largest bloc of countries in terms of population.

The 15th BRICS Summit, scheduled to be held in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24, will be the first in-person gathering of BRICS leaders in three years where PM Narendra Modi will further carry forward his vision of utilising India’s current G20 presidency to give resonance to the voice of the Global South and the importance of South-South Cooperation to collectively shape the global agenda.