Manmohan Singh to attend Durban BRICS Summit


New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Durban Monday for the 5th BRICS Summit over the next two days with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

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Besides the BRICs leaders, notably China’s newly-elected President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Manmohan Singh is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with some African leaders on the margins of the summit.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, besides senior officials.

The prime minister is to hand over the BRICS chair to the summit’s host South Africa – led by President Jacob Zuma. He is also scheduled to call on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

An important item on the summit agenda is the proposed BRICS Development Bank for which four meetings have been held in the past year between the grouping’s finance ministries. The finance ministers will meet again in Durban March 26.

There will also be a business summit on the sidelines, for which the three apex chambers, FICCI, Assocham and the CII, are sending a large delegation, officials added.

The BRICS commands over 25 percent of the world’s geographical area, 43 percent of the world’s population and a fifth of global gross domestic product.

The prime minister returns late Thursday.