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Video conference of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations

April 28, 2020

The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs /International Relations video conference was convened by the current BRICS Chair, Russia on 28 April 2020. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, chaired the meeting. EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar represented India. Amb. Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, and Ms. Grace Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, represented the respective BRICS countries.

This video conference was convened in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The discussions centred around COVID-19 crisis, its impact and BRICS response. The BRICS Foreign Ministers also discussed the activities to be undertaken under Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020.

In his remarks, EAM thanked the Russian Foreign Minister for convening this extraordinary meeting. He noted that BRICS, which brings together almost 42 percent of global population, with impressive growth, investment and trade share, has an important role to play in shaping the global economic and political architecture.

EAM highlighted the initiatives and various decisive steps taken early by India in the wake of the pandemic including through Aarogya Setu Citizen App and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package. He highlighted that much before the outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern by WHO, India instituted measures to check Corona Virus. He apprised the BRICS Foreign Ministers about the initiative to coordinate efforts to contain COVID-19 in South Asia, and creation of COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund by the SAARC countries. India is providing pharma assistance to nearly 85 nations, including many countries in Africa, on a grant basis, to support their response to the pandemic. This has been widely welcomed.

EAM emphasized that the pandemic is not only posing a great risk to the health and well being of humanity but is also severely impacting global economy and output by disruption of global trade and supply chains. Economic activity across sectors has been negatively impacted leading to loss of jobs and livelihoods. He emphasized that we need to provide support to businesses, especially MSMEs, to tide over the crisis and ensure livelihoods are not lost. EAM pointed out that the efficacy of traditional medicine systems to strengthen immunity should be recognized and that BRICS should support these efforts.

EAM emphasized that the current challenge underlines all the more the need for reform of multilateral systems and that reformed multilateralism was the way forward. He referred to the centrality of development and growth in the global agenda.

India also reaffirmed its strong support for Russian BRICS Chairship in 2020 and the overall theme of "BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”.

A virtual meeting of BRICS Health Officials is envisaged on COVID-19 pandemic on 7th May, 2020 to take the discussion forward in a focussed and purposeful manner.

New Delhi
April 28, 2020

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