Ufa (Russia), (IANS) Assuring BRICS leaders that the Contingency Reserve Arrangement would soon become a reality, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy to be adopted by the summit here later on Thursday will be a major milestone for the five-nation grouping.
“The BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy to be adopted today (Thursday) will be an important milestone in the development of BRICS,” Modi said, addressing the BRICS Business Council meeting, with the presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa also in attendance.
“The Contingency Reserve Arrangement will soon become a reality, which will help in stabilising the BRICS economies,” the prime minister said.
The BRICS Economic Cooperation Strategy is aimed at creating a framework for easier trade between the BRICS developing markets.
It is the first comprehensive document of its kind and introduces entirely new areas of cooperation such as physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.
“For the first time our countries managed to negotiate and finalise the comprehensive document – the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership – that touches upon the responsibility of different ministers and requires high-level coordination,” Modi said.
The Contingency Reserve Arrangement to facilitate intra-group trade in members’ local currencies assumes even more importance in the context of the Greek bailout crisis that along with China’s stock market plunge has revived the spectre of weaker economic growth.
Modi proposed that BRICS nations host an annual trade fair, adding that India would be happy to host the first such event.
“I will propose an annual BRICS trade fair. India will be happy to host the first BRICS trade fair,” Modi said in his remarks at the BRICS Business Council meeting at the seventh BRICS Summit.
Speaking in Hindi, he stressed that the five nations should create synergies seeing each other’s advantages, adding that cooperation would also give a boost to skill development.
He said the BRICS New Development Bank has become a reality and has an Indian as its head in M.V. Kamath.
Customs arrangement among the BRICS nations would be a major step in boosting trade, he added.
The five BRICS countries represent almost three billion people, or approximately 40 percent of the world population and have a combined GDP of $16.039 trillion, or 20 percent of the gross world product.
Meanwhile, clarifying that all BRICS Bank member-nations are on par, New Development Bank’s first president K.V. Kamath on Thursday said the loan requests from member-nations would be examined in the order they were received.
The bank should not only meet the group’s aspirations at present, but also prepare for a larger BRICS once new members joined, he added.
“We will look at the proposals from each country in the order in which they are coming,” Kamath told TASS news agency.
“We realise we will need to work with other partners, to meet aspirations in terms of loans and other assistance for not only our BRICS member-countries as of now, but an increased number of members as it happens. So that will be laid out in our policy as we go along,” he said.
On Wednesday, Russian oil major Rosneft signed an initial “non-binding” memorandum with the Ruia family-led Essar group to buy 49 percent stake in Essar Oil’s Vadinar refinery in Gujarat. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals.
Rosneft and Essar Oil last December signed a contract for the Russian firm to supply 10 million tonnes of oil a year for 10 years.
Commenting on the prime minister’s statement at the with the BRICS Business Council meeting industry chamber FICCI said: “The New Development Bank has a lot of expectations attached to it and it must promote joint BRICS projects particularly in areas of infrastructure, renewable energy and skill development.”
“The BRICS Information Sharing and Exchanging Platform (BRICS Business Portal), anchored by the Fudan University, is an excellent tool that must be used and leveraged by businesses for accessing information on policies and projects across sectors in BRICS countries,” Jyotsna Suri, president, FICCI said in a statement here.