Reforms to the UN Security Council are a necessity, India said on Tuesday and called on partner countries in BRICS, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, to support its call for changes at the global high table and other international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The economies of BRICS have a major role to play in the post-covid economic recovery given that the five countries were counted among the growth engines of the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the 12th BRICS summit hosted by Russia via video link because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa joined the summit via video link. The BRICS represents more than 3.6 billion people, and the five countries have a combined estimated gross domestic product of $16.6 trillion.
The BRICS meet on Tuesday was the second platform in about a week where Modi was seen together with Xi amid tensions between the two countries along their border in Ladakh. On 10 November, Modi and Xi participated in the virtual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which was also hosted by Russia. Ties between New Delhi and Beijing have nosedived since India detected intrusions into its territory by Chinese troops in May. India has imposed a series of economic restrictions that affect Chinese business interests, including banning the short-video-sharing app TikTok along with scores of other apps, following a violent clash between troops of the two countries in June.
Modi on Tuesday expressed India’s strong support for multilateralism but asserted that it was under stress. “The credibility and effectiveness of global institutions are being questioned. The reason for this is that there has been no change in these institutions despite the passage of time. These institutions reflect the mindset and realities of the world 75 years ago,” he said.
“India believes that reforms in the UN Security Council are a necessity, and in this matter India expects the support of BRICS partner countries. Besides the UN, there are a number of international organizations that are not working according to the current realities. The WTO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Health Organization should also undergo reforms,” the prime minister said. The remarks come ahead of India assuming one of the 10 rotating non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council in January. India has previously said that “reformed multilateralism” would be a key focus of its two-year term.
Terrorism posed the biggest threat to the world, Modi said. “We have to ensure that countries supporting terrorists are also held accountable and that we work towards this end in a collective manner,” he said. The reference was a pointer to Pakistan though Modi did not name it. It could also be seen as an indirect swipe at China, which has shielded Pakistan and Pakistan-based terrorists from sanctions by the UN.
Modi said BRICS countries had a key role to play in bringing the global economy back on track. “There is the scope for increasing intra-BRICS trade,” he said. The BRICS Business Council could set a target of $500 billion, he added. The BRICS’ New Development Bank could also play a major part in the post-covid scenario, the prime minister said. The China-based bank he hoped would open a regional office in India next year like it had done in Russia this year, Modi said.