PM Modi attends BRICS Leaders’ Retreat in South Africa

Johannesburg: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attended the BRICS Leaders Retreat and deliberated on global developments with other leaders of the five-member bloc.

Modi arrived here on Tuesday on a four-day visit to South Africa and Greece. In South Africa, he will attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from August 22-24 at the invitation of the country’s President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is the first in-person BRICS Summit after three consecutive years of virtual meetings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Reinforcing the intra-BRICS bonds! PM @narendramodi arrives at the Summer Place to participate in the BRICS Leaders Retreat. Warmly greeted by the host, President @CyrilRamaphosa of South Africa,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“PM, along with other BRICS leaders will deliberate on global developments and leveraging the BRICS platform to find solutions to global challenges,” he said.

Earlier, the prime minister spoke at the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue.

He viewed a model of the under-construction Swaminarayan Temple here before taking part in the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue.

BRICS grouping comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Meanwhile, media reports from Johannesburg said Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to show up at the BRICS Business Forum on Tuesday in South Africa, where he was expected to deliver a speech alongside his counterparts.

In his place, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao read the speech that criticised the US over its tendency toward “hegemony”.

Xi, in the speech read by Wang at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, said the US tended to fight countries that threaten its dominance in global affairs and financial markets.

The speech said that every country has a right to development and that people should have the freedom to pursue a happy life.

But one country is “obsessed with maintaining hegemony, has gone out of its way to cripple the emerging markets and developing countries”, he said in a veiled swipe at the US.

“Whoever develops first becomes their target of containment. Whoever is catching up becomes its target of obstruction,” Xi added.

Although he had arrived in South Africa on Monday evening, Xi skipped the business forum and no explanation was given, the report said.