India,Brazil, South Africa to engage in 5th IBSA SummitOctober 12th, 2011 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads for Pretoria Monday on a three-day visit to attend the 5th India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit Oct 17 in which global economy and security will be among issues of prime focus, officials said.
The summit in the South African capital is being hosted by President Jacob Zuma and will also be attended by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. The prime minister will hold bilateral meetings as well with the two leaders, officials here added.
The prime minister’s delegation will include External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, and his Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee.
Briefing reporters on the visit, M. Ganapathi, secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, said there will also be a series of high-level meetings among the three sides ahead of the summit to give inputs for deliberations at the higher level.
While Anand Sharma is attending one on business where global economy will be in focus, Woman and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath is participating in one on health. External Affairs Minister Krishna is also scheduled to attend a meeting on global affairs.
The summit comes against the backdrop of a recent victory of sorts for the three nations where they came together and managed to block a resolution against the Syrian government that the Western world, led by the US, wanted the UN Security Council to pass.
The decision to abstain from voting on the resolution by IBSA representatives, who are on the Security Council as non-permanent members for the first time together after the formation of the initiative, came after a visit to the African nation earlier.
“Obviously, the visit to Syria by IBSA representatives and frequent exchange of views on the UNSC vote was an important indicator of the fact that IBSA permanent representatives, IBSA officials and leaders will like to take forward their engagement,” said Ganapathi.
At the same time, officials said, it was no way an indication that IBSA sought to adopt an aggressive stand and sought to play down the perception of victory for the forum at the high table of the United Nations in diplomatic circles.
“But by no means does IBSA aim at ganging up against any country or organisation. IBSA is a group of three like-minded, developing countries - three democractic societies - representing three continents,” said foreign office spokesperson Vishnu Prakash.
“In a number of areas there are natural convergence of opinions and convergence of relations. That obviously gets articulated. Lets be very clear about the role of IBSA and there are three broad plans or thrust areas of IBSA institution,” he said.
The IBSA initiative was launched in June 2003 when the foreign ministers met in Brasilia and agreed to set up a forum to hold regular dialogue and consultations on matters of mutual interest, notably in economic, defence and social affairs.
In 2006, the forum was upgraded to summit level. Since then four summits have been held, two hosted by Brazil and one each by South Africa. The forum now has 16 working groups on areas such as health, agriculture, education, technology and defence.
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Tags: anand sharma, bilateral meetings, commerce minister, development minister, dilma rousseff, external affairs minister, external affairs ministry, ganapathi, global economy, jacob zuma, level meetings, manmohan singh, national security advisor, permanent representatives, prime focus, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, principal secretary, secretary west, un security council