Durban: Hailing the BRICS as a young grouping with a lot of promise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Durban Monday on a four-day visit to attend the Durban Summit which could decide to launch a development bank and discuss ways to reform governance in international financial institutions.
The Prime Minister was given a red carpet welcome at the King Shaka International Airport here. He was received by Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe.
"I am delighted to be in South Africa once again. We have extremely cordial relations with South Africa. This visit is for the BRICS Summit. BRICS is a new grouping, young with a lot of promise," Singh told reporters.
"I look forward to meeting all the dignitaries who are attending the Summit," he added.
The Prime Minister is leading a high-level delegation including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.
He will also have an opportunity to meet with the new Chinese leadership on the Summit sidelines when he calls on President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
The highlight of the first BRICS Summit on the African soil of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) is the possible setting up of a development bank for undertaking infrastructure and development projects.
The idea of the bank, mooted by India last year during its presidency, has been supported by China. However, the Prime Minister's departure statement made no mention on the BRICS bank.
The meeting of the USD 12 trillion grouping also comes at a time when the global economy is still grappling problems of slowdown. The leaders are expected to take a call on scaling up intra-BRICS trade to a new level of USD 50 billion discussed sometime ago by their commerce ministers.
The other major issue coming up at the Summit is the need for reforms of global financial governance architecture and spurring infrastructure building in the developing world.
First Published: Monday, March 25, 2013, 20:16