The Fifth Summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping came up with its most comprehensive declaration so far, spelling out its stand on major issues troubling the world and asking the West to meet its commitments towards the world.

The West should act on a wide swathe of issues to receive reciprocation on tackling the financial crises.

The second Tashwane Declaration (the first was at the 2007 IBSA summit) signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff saw the countries publicly supporting each other for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC).

This effectively added another member to the G-4 grouping of Brazil, India, Japan and Germany, which have been spearheading the drive for U.N. expansion. South Africa had so far been waiting for consensus among African countries before making its ambitions public.

Meeting weeks before the Paris G-20 summit on the Euro zone crises, the leaders counselled Europe to prepare a credible recovery plan instead of ad hoc damage control. Officials said the three leaders would meet again in Paris to fine-tune their approach.

The IBSA sought democracy and fairness in the working of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Upset at the manner in which the West pushed through a French candidate for the top IMF post, they wanted next year's selection of the World Bank chief to be transparent and merit-based.

The leaders have decided to ask their Foreign Ministers to consider sending another delegation to Syria in view of the continuing violence and the West's yearning to impose a Libya-type solution.

The 102-para declaration also dealt with the IBSA's point of view and differences with the West on climate change, social aspects of global governance, Doha Round, sustainable development and intellectual property rights.

Regional issues

The IBSA Declaration was similarly expansive on regional issues, touching on every trouble spot in the neighbourhood of the three countries except Pakistan. On the Palestine issue, the leaders wanted the efforts of the Quartet (the U.S., Russia, U.N. and EU) to be monitored by the UNSC. A fully inclusive political settlement in Sri Lanka and peace through dialogue in Afghanistan was sought. The stand on the situation in the two Sudans, Guinea-Bissau and Haiti was also spelt out. The declaration noted that piracy now affected the South Atlantic Ocean as well and contemplated a global effort to combat its spread.

Dr. Singh and the Brazilian and South African Presidents indicated the desire for consolidating the work of the 16 working groups and to give a sharper focus to the issues they are seeking to tackle. On a joint IBSA satellite project, India agreed to do the initial spadework.

Accessing uranium

PTI reports:

High Commissioner to South Africa Virender Gupta said here that energy-hungry India was working out a mechanism with South Africa to access its uranium.

Briefing on Dr. Singh's bilateral meeting with Mr. Zuma, he said: “We are already beginning to consider how to go about it. In the long term, it will be in our interest to access uranium directly from South Africa.”

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