Thursday, November 30, 2023

Modi looks forward to meetings with world leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he was looking forward to the deliberations and meetings with world leaders during the 15th BRICS Summit as he was accorded a

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he was looking forward to the deliberations and meetings with world leaders during the 15th BRICS Summit as he was accorded a warm welcome upon his arrival in South Africa.

Modi, who arrived here on a three-day official visit, was received by South Africa’s Deputy President Paul Mashatile at Waterkloof Air Force Base, where he given a ceremonial guard of honour.

“Landed in Johannesburg a short while ago. Looking forward to the various deliberations and meetings with world leaders during the BRICS Summit over the next few days,” Modi posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Modi is visiting the African country from August 22 to 24 at the invitation of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. South Africa is hosting the first in-person summit of BRICS comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, since 2019.

“PM @narendramodi touches down at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, South Africa. Warmly received by Deputy President @PMashatile of South Africa. Accorded a ceremonial welcome upon arrival,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a post on X.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to South Africa entails participation in the 15th BRICS Summit and engagements with leaders of BRICS and invited countries in plurilateral and bilateral settings, he added.

A large number of Indian community members, including activists of the Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj and the local chapter of the BAPS Swaminarayan organisation, greeted the prime minister.

Modi then left for Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg, the venue of the BRICS Summit. At the hotel, he met with local and expatriate Indian community members ahead of the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue. The Indian community members carrying national flags and musical instruments welcomed Modi upon his arrival at the hotel with chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

“Gratitude to South Africa’s Indian community for the special welcome in Johannesburg,” Modi posted on platform X along with some pictures of his interaction with the diaspora.

Two women diaspora members tied ‘rakhi’ around the wrist of Modi ahead of Raksha Bandhan, falling on August 30.

Earlier in his departure statement in New Delhi, Modi said BRICS has been pursuing a strong cooperation agenda across various sectors.

“We value that BRICS has become a platform for discussing and deliberating on issues of concern for the entire Global South, including development imperatives and reform of the multilateral system,” he said.

This summit will provide a useful opportunity for BRICS to identify future areas of cooperation and review institutional development, he said.

Modi posted on X that he will also take part in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue events. The Summit will give the platform to discuss issues of concern for the Global South and other areas of development.

The BRICS bloc – comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade.

Over 20 heads of state from Africa and the Middle East have also been invited to attend. A number of them have applied to become members of BRICS, which is one of the matters on the agenda for the Summit.

Modi said in the statement that he looked forward to interacting with a number of guest countries that have been invited to participate in this event.

“I also look forward to holding bilateral meetings with some of the Leaders present in Johannesburg,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the BRICS summit virtually due to him facing possible arrest in terms of an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant if he lands in South Africa.

From South Africa, the prime minister will travel to Greece on August 25 at the invitation of his Greece counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis. It will be his first visit to this ancient land. “I have the honour to be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Greece after 40 years,” he said.

Contacts between our two civilizations stretch back over two millennia and, in modern times, our ties have been strengthened by shared values of democracy, rule of law and pluralism, he said.

Cooperation in diverse sectors such as trade and investment, defence, and cultural and people-to-people contacts have been bringing our two countries closer, he added.

He looked forward to visiting Greece and opening a new chapter in our multifaceted relationship, Modi said, adding that he will also be interacting with the Indian community there.

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