MODI MET RUSSIA PREZ PUTIN IN SOUTH AFRICA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russia President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, whose theme this year is 'BRICS in Africa'.
The two leaders are believed to have exchanged views on the international landscape, BRICS cooperation and other issues of mutual interest. PM Modi also met Chinese President Xi Jinping for the third time in nearly four months.
Leaders of the BRICS emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- gathered in Johannesburg for a three-day meeting focused on the threat of a US-led global trade war.
US President Donald Trump's hardening stance has compounded fears of an all-out trade war after he slapped levies on goods from China worth tens of billions of dollars and imposed tariffs on other international imports.
MODI MET CHINA PREZ XI AT JOHANNESBERG
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 JULY 2018 at Johannesburg in South Africa, told China President Xi Jinpin that the informal bilateral summit in Wuhan was a “milestone”, and both sides will keep up the level of engagement.
The two leaders, who met for the third time in three months on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, acknowledged the frequent meetings.
“Wuhan is a milestone, it has given strength to our relations. After that the meeting in Qingdao, and now, we have been able to discuss our closer developmental partnership. In last few months, because our contacts and engagement, our concerns have been addressed, and new energy has been instilled,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Xi during the bilateral meeting.
They decided to unveil the calendar of diplomatic engagement: the Chinese Defence Minister will visit in August, and the Public Security Minister will visit in October.
India National Security Advisor will travel to Beijing for the Special Representative-level talks in Beijing. In October, External Affairs Minister will host Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in India.
The two sides also discussed bilateral trade. An Indian trade delegation will travel to China on August 1 and 2, where they will discuss issues pertaining to export of rice and soya from India, and import of urea from China.
An Indian pharmaceutical companies delegation will also visit Shanghai on August 21 and 22.
MODI MET SOUTH AFRICA PREZ
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the South African Indian-origin community numbers around 1.5 million and constitutes about 3 percent of South Africa's total population.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here yesterday, met Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the two-day BRICS summit whose theme this year is 'BRICS in Africa'.
Kicking off a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit the Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the host South Africa President Ramaphosa.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that celebrating 21 years of strategic partnership, India & South Africa are proud inheritors of legacies of Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and the two leaders discussed ways to expand the bilateral ties in a number of sectors, including trade and investment, IT and defence.
Following the delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ramaphosa, three MoUs were signed on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, setting up of Gandhi-Mandela Centre of specialisation for artisan skills and agricultural research and education.
"Saluting the enduring legacy of Mahatma and Mandela! Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa jointly released a stamp commemorating the two iconic personalities."
India and South Africa are celebrating 21 years of strategic partnership.
"India and South Africa are proud inheritors of legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that:: The story of India’s freedom struggle is closely linked to Africa.
The leaders of our freedom movement were extremely supportive towards many African nations in their fight against colonialism.
Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals inspired so many towering African leaders.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Cyril Ramaphosa discussed expansion of our relationship in trade and investment, agriculture and food processing, IT, Defence and people-to-people contacts"
BRICS is a grouping of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Originally the first four were grouped as "BRIC", before the induction of South Africa in 2010. India's relations with South Africa date back several centuries.
India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the anti-apartheid movement.
This year also marks 25 years since the resumption of India's diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1993.
This year also marks the 125th year of the Pietermaritzburg railway station 'incident' involving Gandhi.
Five of the biggest emerging economies on Thursday stood by the multilateral system and vowed to strengthen economic cooperation in the face of US tariff threats and unilateralism.
The heads of the so-called BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- met for an annual summit dominated by the risk of a global US-led trade war, although leaders did not publicly mention President Donald Trump by name.
"We should stay committed to multilateralism," China's President Xi Jinping said on the second day of the Johannesburg talks.
"The escalation of protectionism and unilateralism are directly affecting... emerging markets," he said in a statement in the day's opening session. Closer economic cooperation for shared prosperity is the original purpose and priority of BRICS."
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who held a controversial meeting with Trump last week, echoed the calls for closer ties among BRICS members and for stronger trade within the group.
"BRICS has a unique place in the global economy -- this is the largest market in the world, the joint GDP is 42 percent of the global GDP and it keeps growing," Putin said.
"In 2017, the trade with our BRICS countries has grown 30 per cent, and we are aiming at further developing this kind of partnership."
US targets China's trade surplus
Trump has said he is ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese imports, complaining that China's trade surplus with the US is due to unfair currency manipulation.
Trump has already slapped levies on goods from China worth tens of billions of dollars, as well as tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico.
"We are concerned by the rise in unilateral measures that are incompatible with World Trade Organisation rules, and we are worried about the impact," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the summit's opening session on Wednesday.
The BRICS group, comprising more than 40 percent of the global population, represents some of the biggest emerging economies, but it has struggled to find a unified voice.
Analysts say US trade policy could give the group renewed purpose.
In Washington, Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker announced an apparent truce in their trade war after White House talks on Wednesday.
The US and the EU will "immediately resolve" their dispute over US steel and aluminium tariffs and subsequent EU counter-measures, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed Thursday.
The punishing US metals tariffs had angered Washington's major trading partners including the EU and sparked retaliation against important American exports, spooking global stock markets.
Xi arrived in South Africa after visiting Senegal and Rwanda as part of a whistle stop tour to cement relations with African allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also attend the BRICS event as the current chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and will meet Putin on the summit's sidelines.
AMERICA ATTACKS CHINA
The United States on Thursday accused China of falsely claiming that it was working to open its economy, insisting that Beijing's real goal was to deepen the state's economic control.
In a blistering attack delivered to the World Trade Organization's top body, US Ambassador Dennis Shea rejected Chinese assertions that it had satisfied the conditions of WTO membership.
"China has not been moving toward a fuller embrace of market-based policies and practices since it joined the WTO in 2001," Shea told a General Council meeting.
"In fact, the opposite is true. The state's role in China’s economy has been increasing," he added, according to prepared remarks distributed by the US mission.
"For China, economic reform means perfecting the government's and the Communist Party's management of the economy."
Shea then turned to China's presentation at the country's WTO trade policy review earlier this month, where a senior delegation said Beijing was committed to "open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory" trade.
"China's portrayal of itself is not accurate, of course, as we all know," Shea said.
President Donald Trump's trade team has expressed multiple frustrations with the 164-member WTO, but in recent weeks the organisation's failure to properly discipline China has taken centre-stage.
Washington has argued that WTO's rules, which have not been meaningfully updated since the body's founding in 1995, are inadequate to deal with an economy like China -- a global powerhouse where the government, ruling party and military are invested in the economy with limited transparency about their activities.
And, unlike with other Trump initiatives, the US has allies in its bid to modernise the WTO to check China's private sector involvement.
While the reform push remains in its early stages, the European Union and Japan are reportedly working on proposals tailored to force a change in Chinese behaviour.
'Up to China'
WTO director general Roberto Azevedo told reporters on Wednesday that the current scrutiny of China was natural given its mounting strength.
"I think people are just looking at everything that China does," he said.
Azevedo added that while the WTO has ruled in place restricting a state's private sector influence, the Chinese economy may have evolved in ways that circumvent those rules.
After rules are written, "you begin to have grey zones, grey areas because new practices come up," Azevedo said. I think that is the situation with China."
Shea called on WTO members to recognise that without reform the organisation would be irrelevant while putting the onus to act squarely on Beijing.
"The WTO itself does not currently provide the tools needed to bring about... change. Rather, if the necessary change is to take place, it’s up to China," Shea said.
MODI COMPLETES 3 NATIONS VISIT, ON 27 JULY 2018
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a 3-nation tour to Africa and has held delegation level talks in Uganda as well as Rwanda.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Rwanda, where he gifted 200 cows for an economic development project of the East African nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced that India will soon open its mission in Rwanda.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Uganda was the first bilateral tour by an Indian prime minister since 1997.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached South Africa from Uganda's capital Kampala on Wednesday where he was welcomed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on his arrival.