New Delhi: Seeking
to reinforce their growing economic heft with diplomatic clout,
the BRICS grouping Thursday pitched for a bigger voice in global
governance institutions, including the UN and the IMF, and told
the West that only dialogue could resolve the Iranian nuclear
standoff and the Syria crisis.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which comprise
nearly half the world's population and a growing share of global
GDP, signed two pacts to spur trade in their local currencies.
Seeking to create a first BRICS institution, they also agreed on a
working group to explore setting up of a joint development bank to
promote mutual investment in infrastructure.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Presidents Hu Jintao
(China), Dmitry Medvedev (Russia), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil) and
Jacob Zuma (South Africa) ended the fourth BRICS summit by
renewing the pitch for reforming global governance institutions
and closer coordination on global issues.
The five leaders stressed on the restructuring of the world order
to accommodate emerging economies and developing countries and for
promoting sustained and balanced global economic growth.
"While some progress has been made in international financial
institutions, there is lack of movement on the political side.
BRICS should speak with one voice on important issues such as the
reform of the UN Security Council," said Manmohan Singh, the
"We are committed to stepping up exchanges with other countries on
global economic governance reforms and increasing representation
of developing countries," said Hu while calling for enhancing
political trust through increased dialogue.
BRICS includes two veto-wielding members of the UN Security
Council - Russia and China - and three members aspiring for a
permanent seat - India, Brazil and South Africa.
The BRICS leaders also pitched for greater voting rights for
developing countries in the IMF and voiced disappointment with the
West over the slow pace of the quota reforms.
In a fresh assertion, BRICS asked the West to implement the 2010
governance and quota reform before the 2012 IMF/World Bank annual
meeting, as well as the comprehensive review of the quota formula
to better reflect economic weightages.
They asked for enhancing the voice and representation of emerging
markets and developing countries by January 2013, followed by the
completion of the next general quota review by January 2014.
In an important step, the BRICS decided to create its first
institution in the form of a South South Development Bank that
will mobilise "resources for infrastructure and sustainable
development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and
developing countries", the BRICS' Delhi Declaration said.
The leaders directed their finance ministers "to examine the
feasibility and viability of such an initiative, set up a joint
working group for further study and report back by the next
The development banks of the five countries signed two pacts,
including a master agreement on extending credit facility in local
currency and BRICS multilateral letter of credit confirmation
facility agreement, which could help scale up bilateral trade from
$230 billion to $500 billion by 2015. The move to trade in local
currencies could potentially challenge the supremacy of the US
dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Challenging the West's hegemony of the Bretton Woods institutions,
the BRICS leaders welcomed the candidatures from the developing
world for the position of the president of the World Bank and
backed "an open and merit-based process" for selection of the
heads of the World Bank and IMF.
Contesting the West's narrative, the five countries warned the
West against allowing the Iran situation to escalate into a
conflict and said dialogue was the only way to resolve the Iranian
and Syria issues.
"We agreed that a lasting solution in Syria and Iran can only be
found through dialogue," Manmohan Singh said. "We must avoid
political disruptions that create volatilities in global energy
markets and affect trade flows," he added.
"The situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into
conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one's
interest," said the declaration, in a veiled allusion to the
speculated plan by the US and Israel to target Iran's nuclear
facilities. The BRICS' position on Iran is significant as the US
recently exempted some of its close allies from sanctions.
The declaration saw the leaders voicing "deep concern" over Syria
as they called for "an immediate end to all violence and
violations of human rights in that country", backing a Syrian-led
inclusive political process.
China and Russia had earlier voted against the US and Arab
League-backed UN resolution on grounds that it amounted to a
regime change, while India had supported the resolution.
Marking the emergence of the BRICS as a powerful presssure group
for developing countries in global politics, the BRICS leaders
called for speedier resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and
the creation of an independent Palestine co-existing with Israel
and backed greater regional and international cooperation for the
stabilisation of Afghanistan.
The summit adopted an ambitious multi-layered action plan and
identified new areas of cooperation that includes multilateral
energy cooperation within BRICS framework, a general academic
evaluation and future long-term strategy for BRICS; BRICS Youth
Policy Dialogue; and cooperation in population-related issues.