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PM leaves for Pretoria to attend IBSA Summit

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday embarked on a three-day visit to Pretoria to attend the trilateral India-Brazil-South Africa Summit.

Updated: Oct 17, 2011, 11:53 AM IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
on Monday embarked on a three-day visit to Pretoria to attend the
trilateral India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit that is
expected to be dominated by pressing global issues like the
difficult economic scenario and UN-related matters.

During his visit, Singh will also have bilateral
meetings with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South
African President Jacob Zuma.

In his pre-departure statement, Singh said he looked
forward to an "exchange of views with our IBSA partners on the
current global economic and financial situation especially in
the context of the forthcoming G-20 Summit in France".

The three leaders will discuss possible steps that need
to be taken to address the economic situation, which has
become difficult in view of the crisis in Europe, officials
said.

The fifth IBSA summit of the three leading emerging
nations of three different continents will take place
tomorrow.

Singh said the Summit is also expected to focus on
coordination among IBSA countries in United Nations Security
Council, sustainable development, the forthcoming meetings of
the Conference of Parties under the UNFCCC and the Conference
of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol being hosted by South Africa
later this year, the Rio+20 Conference being hosted by Brazil
in 2012 and other matters related to deepening of cooperation
under IBSA.

"It is a happy coincidence that during 2011, India,
Brazil and South Africa are members of the United Nations
Security Council. We have shown significant cohesiveness and
coordination in our approach to issues under discussion in the
Security Council," the Prime Minister said.

Singh said an IBSA Joint Declaration is expected to be
adopted at the Summit.

He noted that the IBSA Dialogue Forum has matured
considerably over the years and there is greater cooperation
across a wider canvas.

"Above all, the idea of three large developing democracies
- Brazil, India and South Africa - working together in a
highly complex global environment has taken root, and has
received universal welcome by our peoples," he said.

Issues related to international security like terrorism
and maritime safety are also expected to be discussed.

The leaders of the three countries, which are aspirants
for permanent membership of the Security Council, are also
expected to discuss issues related to UN reforms.

The three countries, all non-permanent members of the
Security Council, have demonstrated coordinated actions in the
recent past on Syria.

In the backdrop of representatives of India, Brazil and
South Africa visiting Syria, the leaders of the three
countries are expected to take their discussions forward on
the issue.

Singh, Rousseff and Zuma are also expected to discuss
issues related to the IBSA Trust Fund, which is used for joint
developmental projects in under-developed places like
Palestine and Haiti.

Each country contributes USD 1 million each year to the
Fund.

The Summit will be preceded by the trilateral meeting of
Foreign Ministers and forums on various topics like commerce
and women and child development.

India has been maintaining that the relevance of the IBSA
will remain as it brings together three large democracies of
three continents and is not undermined by the
Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS).

Singh said he also looked forward to holding bilateral
meetings with Zuma and Rousseff to exchange views on global,
regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest.

PTI