Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will leave on Tuesday for a five-day visit to China and Kazakhstan, during which he will attend the BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) summit where South Africa (S) is to be welcomed as a new member.

The Prime Minister will also hold five bilateral meetings, including four in China and one with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana.

At the BRICS summit in the coastal city of Sanya in China, Dr. Singh will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma.

The Prime Minister will hold discussions on international and regional situations, with the focus on energy and economic issues, especially during the bilateral meetings.

The BRICS nations account for 40 per cent of the global population and 20 per cent of global GDP.

Dr. Singh will be in Sanya for three days, after which he will leave for Astana, where he will hold talks with Mr. Nazarbayev, leader of the largest and most economically vibrant country in Central Asia.

With the focus on energy and trade, India and Kazakhstan are likely to ink about half-a-dozen agreements, including one on civil nuclear cooperation.

The two sides will sign an inter-governmental framework pact on non-military atomic cooperation.

The BRICS summit is expected to discuss the situation in West Asia and North Africa, including Libya, because of which there was a “feeling of uncertainty” with regard to energy supplies and prices, said Manbir Singh, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Asked whether Libya would be discussed, Mr. Singh said Libya was an extremely important issue as it affected all the BRICS nations.

To a query if the summit would discuss the issue of Yuan being used as an alternate currency for trading among the BRICS countries, he said: “We are not going to raise the issue. It is for China to decide what to do with its currency and how it is valued.”

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