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Diplomacy

India Asks BRICS to ‘Live Up’ to Commitments on Territorial Integrity

The BRICS foreign ministers discussed the crisis in Ukraine and its consequences on the global economy and food security.

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New Delhi: India asserted that the five-member bloc of developing nations should “live up” to the commitments to territorial integrity and international law, even as the BRICS foreign ministers discussed the crisis in Ukraine and its consequences on the global economy and food security.

At the BRICS foreign ministers’ virtual meeting, Jaishankar said that the group has repeatedly affirmed respect for sovereign equality, territorial integrity and international law. “We must live up to these commitments,” he said.

His comments assumed significance as they came in the backdrop of the lingering border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh and Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries in the world, representing 41% of the global population, 24% of the global GDP and 16% of the worldwide trade. China chaired the meeting.

India has also repeatedly brought up in recent statements on the war in Ukraine that the global order is based on the foundational principle of respect for sovereign equality, territorial integrity and international law.

In a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, India said that the BRICS Ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and supported talks between Russia and Ukraine. “They expressed concern at the energy and food security implications of the conflict,” said the MEA readout.

Jaishankar tweeted that he noted that the “knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict have led to sharp increases in the costs of energy, food and commodities”. “This must be mitigated for the sake of the developing world,” he added.

A statement from the Russian foreign ministry said that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov briefed his BRICS counterpart on the situation in Ukraine and the “ongoing special military operation”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the meeting, stated that “both history and reality tell us that seeking one’s own security at the expense of others will only create new tensions and risks.”

Referring to his proposal for a “Global Security Initiative”, President XI said that the BRICS countries “need to strengthen political mutual trust and security cooperation, maintain close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, respect each other’s sovereignty, security and development interests, oppose hegemonism and power politics, reject Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, and work together to build a global community of security for all”.

The Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi also took a swipe at the ‘Quad’ group, when he said that “small circles” of countries cannot solve “big challenges”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Tokyo next week to participate in the ‘Quad’ leaders meeting with his counterpart from Japan, the United States and Australia.

Meanwhile, Wang Yi told the online meeting that he proposed to expand the BRICS group.

“China proposes to start the BRICS expansion process, explore the criteria and procedures for the expansion, and gradually form a consensus,” he said.

The BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting had a separate session with their counterparts from Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand and the UAE.

(With agency inputs)