Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit South Africa to attend the 15th BRICS Summit from August 22-24, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Friday. Following the BRICS summit, Mr. Modi will proceed to Greece on August 25 for a visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“This will be the first in-person BRICS Summit since 2019. The Summit will provide an opportunity to review progress of the initiatives launched by the grouping, and identify future areas of activity,” stated the official release. The in-person nature of the summit is expected to yield several important meetings including one between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. In Johannesburg, Prime Minister Modi will also attend two events focused on BRICS’ cooperation with Africa and expansion of the organization: BRICS Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue .
The BRICS Plus Dialogue will be attended by several leaders representing non-BRICS countries who have been invited by South Africa to participate in the event which is focused on expanding the grouping.
An indication of the substance of this meeting came on Friday evening when PM Modi held a telephonic conversation with Iran’s President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi. The MEA said in a press statement that the two leaders discussed, “expansion of BRICS and looked forward to their meeting on the margins of the forthcoming BRICS summit in South Africa.” Iran has been lobbying BRICS members for “accelerated membership” of the grouping and an announcement in this regard is likely in Johannesburg. PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina is also expected to attend the event and hold meetings with BRICS leaders.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Greece will be the first by an Indian PM in four decades. “India and Greece enjoy civilisational ties, which have strengthened in recent years through cooperation in areas like maritime transport, defence, trade and investments and people to people ties,” said the MEA. Mr Modi will meet business leaders representing both sides in Athens and interact with the Indian community in Greece.