Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attends BRICS ministerial meet on sidelines of UNGA

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) foreign ministers’ meeting hosted by South Africa in New York on Thursday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also attended the meeting. The ministers exchanged views on major global and regional issues on the United Nations (UN) agenda in the political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as on intra-BRICS activities. 

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The possibilities for mutual support for their initiatives at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) were also discussed. They expressed support for the continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges among their Permanent Missions to the UN. 

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BRICS has always been united in calling for more representation of major emerging economies on the world’s stage. It has stood up against what it views as a disproportionate dominance of the Western powers. However, tensions between India and China have been a longstanding source of internal friction within BRICS. The 2020 Galwan clashes further dampened the relations.

Jaishankar has planned for more than 50 meetings on the sidelines of UNGA but no bilateral meetings have been planned with China. Earlier in the day, Jaishankar took a veiled dig at China over its putting on hold the blacklisting of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, Sajid Mir as a “global terrorist”.

He is India’s most wanted terrorist and was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Jaishankar said some countries have facilitated impunity “when it comes to sanctioning some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists.” Speaking at the UNSC briefing on Ukraine ‘Fight against impunity’, the minister said politics should never ever provide cover to evade accountability. “Nor indeed to facilitate impunity. Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very chamber, when it comes to sanctioning some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists.” 

“If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this Council must reflect on the signals we are sending on impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility,” he added. 

Recently, the two countries completed the disengagement process in the Gogra Heights-Hot Springs area near Patrolling Point-15 in the eastern Ladakh sector, according to government sources. The two sides have also completed verification of each other’s positions adapter pulling back troops from friction point. 

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May 2020 over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs, and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June 2020.

(With inputs from agencies)