Asks antagonists to resolve suspicions over Iran’s nuclear programme through talks on multilateral fora

While making a strong statement on Iran and adopting a middle-of-the-road resolution on Syria, the fourth summit of BRICS here on Thursday largely eschewed political content and focussed on economic and development issues which included beginning the process for setting up a bank and inking two pacts to ease trade among each other.

The Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the one-day summit hinted at backing an alternative candidate for the World Bank President's post which has always been appropriated by an American and exhorted the Bank and the International Monetary Fund to quickly realign their priorities and approach to the needs of the developing world. This is an agenda the five countries intend pursuing at the coming G-20 meeting in Mexico as well.

The leaders of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) who held a closed door meeting that overran the allotted time, weighed the consequences of setting up a “BRICS Bank” and opted for a more contemplative approach by asking their Finance Ministers to examine its feasibility and report back at the next summit in Russia. Sources said the leaders agreed that the bank should in no way emerge as a competitor to the World Bank and the IMF but provide funds for projects that do not find favour with these institutions.

In line with their professed commitment to multilateralism in economic and political problem solving, the leaders agreed to invest more in the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) which played a major role in catering to the interests of developing countries in the run-up to the setting up of the World Trade Organisation.

The five-nation grouping's formulation on Iran came close to condemning the West's pressure tactics to make other countries obey their latest restrictions on trade ties, especially in the energy sphere. Saying that a conflict would have disastrous consequences, it wanted the two antagonists to resolve suspicions over Iran's nuclear programme through talks on multilateral fora.

On Afghanistan, BRICS exhorted the international community to stay the course on the development front for 10 years after the West withdraws most of its combat troops by 2014-end and, on Russia's insistence, made a mention of checking narcotic trafficking.

More In: National | News | Business | Economy