India may seek common ground at IBSA on Af-Pak

October 17th, 2011 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Pretoria, Oct 17 (IANS) Fresh with a victory of sorts over the stand taken on Syria at the UN, India may engage Brazil and South Africa to forge a common position on Pakistan and Afghanistan when their leaderships meet here Tuesday for the 5th IBSA Summit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Monday evening for the summit, is expected to take up this issue along with a host of other matters such as global security, economy, terrorism, UN reform and climate change, officials accompanying him said.

“Regarding Af-Pak (Afghanistan-Pakistan), they do discuss regional and international issues at IBSA. Terrorism is a major concern. Therefore, these talks are expected to cover a whole range of issues,” India’s foreign office spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.

“In Syria, IBSA representatives had gone there and advocated a peaceful process for peace through dialogue. That stand was taken by IBSA representatives at the UN Security Council as well. So you have similarities in position,” Prakash said.

Earlier this month, India, Brazil and South Africa - together members of the UN Security Council for the first time since the trilateral forum was formed in 2003 - abstained on a vote against the Syrian regime proposed by some members, notably the US.

This had led to the first ever walk-out by Washington at the high table of the council, which in diplomatic circles was seen as a victory of sorts for the developing countries in general and IBSA in particular.

Ahead of his departure, the prime minister himself had expressed his happiness at the joint effort of the three IBSA members at the UN and had indicated the adoption of similar position in the future on international matters.

“It is a happy coincidence that India, Brazil and South Africa are members of the UN Security Council. We have shown significant cohesiveness and coordination in our approach to issues under discussion on the Security Council,” the prime minister said.

Accordingly, there are expectations that the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan may also figure in the joint declaration that the leaderships of the three countries are expected to unveil at the end of the summit.

The prime minister is also expected to engage individually with his host, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff later Tuesday, apart from their summit-level talks Tuesday.

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