Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed bilateral ties and cooperation with Russia within the BRICS format during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Ufa.
Putin is hosting his BRICS counterparts- Dilma Rousseff, Xi Jinping, Jacob Zuma and Narendra Modi, who have gathered in Ufa for the 7th BRICS Summit.
“The two leaders discussed further development of the strategic partnership between Russia and India, and bolstering the share of innovation and high-tech cooperation in the two countries’ bilateral trade and economic ties,” said a Kremlin statement on Wednesday.
In Ufa, Putin said “a very important event”, India’s induction into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has begun.
“Let me start this conversation by noting an important event: we are starting the process of India’s full-fledged accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” the Russian President told Modi.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit will be held in the Russian city of Ufa on 9-10 July.
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by terrorism and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.
SCO leaders will meet the heads of state from the five BRICS countries on Thursday.
Russian state owned energy major Rosneft also signed a long-term contract for oil deliveries with India’s Essar Oil Ltd. on Wednesday in Ufa.
Rosneft has signed an agreement with the Essar group to buy 49 per cent in Essar Oil’s Vadinar refinery in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Rosneft will supply oil to the Indian company for the next ten years
Brazil, Russia, India and China began working on establishing the bloc in 2006 but it wasn’t until the first BRIC summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia that the organization began to show promise of being a global player.
South Africa joined the group in 2010.
This year’s summit will be hosted in the city of Ufa, Russia July 8-9.
The BRICS countries make up about 40% of the world’s population and a combined economy of about $16 trillion.
The BRICS countries have announced a new BRICS Bank and a $100 billion currency reserve fund, institutions that are expected to rival the World Bank and the IMF in the near future.
The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the first new multilateral development lender in decades has also won support from governments around the world, some of them prominent US allies like Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia among others.
The headquarters of the BRICS Bank and AIIB will be in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing respectively.
The five emerging economies are also looking at creating a new Energy Alliance and a BRICS rating network to counterbalance the Big 3- Moody’s, Fitch and SP, which together account for a 90 per cent share of the ratings market.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said last week “a new and very important period has begun in the group’s activity”.
“BRICS is also a centre of gravity for those who think the same way and favour a more just system of international relations, including economic ties,” Lavrov added.
Russia has hosted BRICS civil and academic forums in the run-up to the Leaders Summit on 8-9 July in Ufa.