The current international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes characterised by the turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa, and the lingering negative impact of the financial crisis on world economy. The international community is facing both challenges as well as opportunities.
Against such backdrop, the leaders of China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa will gather in Sanya, Hainan Province of China on April 14, 2011 for the Third BRICS Leaders Meeting. With Broad Vision and Shared Prosperity as its theme, the Leaders Meeting has already attracted widespread attention from all over the world. The outcome of the meeting will not only benefit the five countries but also contribute to the world development.
The BRICS is a unique cooperative mechanism of the 21st century. It came into being in the wake of the emergence of a group of developing countries. In the past decade, the BRICS has evolved into a multi-level cooperative framework with the Leaders Summit as its highest form, assisted by meetings of Senior Security Representatives, Foreign Ministers, Finance Ministers, Governors of Central Banks as well as think-tanks, business circles and financial institutions.
The accession of South Africa and its participation for the first time at the Leaders Meeting signify an important development of BRICS, which made BRICS a mechanism covering the area of Asia, Africa, Europe and America and further enhanced its representation and influence.
At present, the five BRICS countries account for nearly 30 per cent of the world's land area, 42 per cent of the global population, make up 18 per cent of the world GDP and 15 per cent of the world total trade volume. The trade among these five countries experienced a rapid growth at 28 per cent annually from the year 2001 to 2010 and reached the amount of $230 billion. When the concept of BRICS first became known to the public, no one would have ever imagined that it would have developed into such a vibrant cooperation mechanism for the emerging markets in a short span of time.
BRICS countries are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world with tremendous potential. The cooperation among BRICS members reflects the development of international situation as well as the desire and choice of emerging economies.
The members of BRICS share a lot in common in many senses. They are in the similar stage of development and face the same historical task of developing their economies and improving the well-being of their people. At present, the five countries are also facing similar challenges or problems in restructuring the economy, maintaining a healthy and sustainable growth and in achieving an inclusive, equitable and green development. The BRICS cooperation has provided a valuable platform for the five countries to share development experiences and work together on development problems. Meanwhile, the BRICS countries enjoy highly complementary advantages and solid foundation for extensive cooperation to promote common development based on equality and mutual benefit.
BRICS countries also share the same concerns and views in reforming and improving global economic governance and relevant institutions. They make joint efforts in meeting the global challenges together to serve the common interest of their own as well as the international community at large. BRICS countries are working closely in forums such as the United Nations and G20, and on issues like food and energy security, the Doha Round of trade talks, climate change, Millennium Development Goals and the reform of international financial institutions, and striving to increase the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries. The issues discussed by BRICS members mainly focus on the economic, financial and development issues. In a sense, BRICS countries act as advocates and practitioners in forging a global partnership for development.
The cooperation of BRICS is different from many other international and regional mechanisms, such as the G8. It is neither another new grouping of big powers nor a political alliance. The countries are partners in development. The cooperation of BRICS countries diversified the growth of the world economy and became a driving force for the democratisation of international economic relations. The BRICS mechanism is not in competition with other mechanisms. It is open, transparent and inclusive and will always follow the principle of consensus building. It also serves as a bridge of communications and exchanges between the developed and the developing countries.
The forthcoming Leaders Meeting aims at achieving positive results in the following aspects: First, to arrive at a consensus on how to cope with global challenges and make contributions to resolving global problems. Second, to enhance coordination and collaboration among BRICS countries in international affairs, work closely on the issues of international monetary system reform, bulk commodity prices fluctuations, climate change and sustainable development and accelerate the improvement of global governance. Third, to further deepen and expand BRICS pragmatic cooperation in all fields. Fourth, to further strengthen the bilateral relations among BRICS countries. On the sidelines, the Leaders will have bilateral talks, Trade Ministers will meet and a Business Forum will also be convened. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Sanya Declaration will be adopted as an outcome of the Meeting. In short, the Leaders Meeting is aiming at “gathering consensus, strengthening coordination and deepening cooperation.”
India is an active member of BRICS and China highly values India's important role. At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Hu Jintao, President of China, the Prime Minister of India His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh is going to attend the Leaders Meeting. China is willing to work with India in addressing global issues such as financial crisis, climate change, food and energy security, counter terrorism, advancing the reforms of international economic system and promoting the multi-polarity and democratisation of international relations. The mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields between China and India has brought tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries and contributed to the development of the world as well.
We believe that with the cooperation among China, India and other BRICS countries, the Third BRICS Leaders Meeting will send out the signal of “confidence, solidarity, cooperation and win-win situation” to the international community. The meeting can also become a milestone in the process of cooperation among BRICS countries and set a good example of South-South cooperation. It will definitely create more opportunities for growth and bring benefits to human beings.
(Zhang Yan is Chinese Ambassador to India.)