Speaking to reporters at the end of an eight-day tour that saw him visit Washington and Brasilia for three major international summits, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the current global environment favoured India but that the country needed to “get its act together” and solve its own problems quickly.
Unlike China's rise, which, he said, possibly gives rise to apprehension in some quarters, “the world takes a benign view of India's rise … The world wants us to succeed”.
But he warned that this might not always be the case. “We should take advantage of [the current situation] because we don't know how long it will last”, Dr. Singh said, adding that India should move quickly to sort out its domestic problems.
He described as “remarkable” what the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) forums – which held back-to-back summits in Brasilia on April 15 – had been able to achieve in “half-a-day of meetings”.
Anand Sharma, minister for commerce and industry, who had also been in Brazil, said the BRIC leaders spoke freely and frankly of the need to work closely together in the run-up to the Canada and South Korea meetings of the G-20 later this year. He said the summit of IBSA had confirmed the utility and capacity of the forum and that a new thrust was evident thanks to the growing interest of businesses in India, Brazil and South Africa in trilateral projects. Intra-IBSA trade and investment was rising rapidly and a CEO's forum would be held later this year.
Indian officials said there was a touch of emotion when President Lula da Silva of Brazil told his counterparts this would be the last set of major meetings he would be hosting before he demits office later this year.