While no final decision has been arrived at and no official announcement has been made, there is a possibility that Modi may attend the Summit virtually, ET has learnt. Officials are brainstorming with this idea and a final decision will be taken in due course, a source indicated.
The discussion on the PM’s physical presence at the BRICS Summit is believed to have started after Putin decided to skip the Summit in the backdrop of an ICC warrant against him. South Africa is a signatory to ICC and while it tried hard to host Putin for the Summit, it was finally decided that the Russian leader will address the summit virtually and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the Summit physically.
Expansion of BRICS will be a key item on the agenda of the Summit as the group has agreed in principle on the concept of expansion. The BRICS states are currently debating the number of new members. The single BRICS Currency is not on the agenda.
This week NSA Ajit Doval visited Johannesburg and held wide ranging talks on BRICS security cooperation. Earlier India’s external affairs minister was in Capetown to attend BRICS foreign ministers’ meet.
Last month Modi had a telephone conversation with President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa. The prime minister thanked the South African President for the relocation of 12 Cheetahs to India earlier this year.They also exchanged views on several regional and global issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in BRICS in the context of South Africa’s chairmanship this year.Ramaphosa also briefed the PM on the African Leaders’ Peace Initiative. Noting that India was supportive of all initiatives aimed at ensuring durable peace and stability in Ukraine, Modi reiterated India’s consistent call for dialogue and diplomacy as the way forward.
On that occasion, Ramaphosa conveyed his full support to India’s initiatives as part of its ongoing G20 Presidency and that he looked forward to his visit to India.