New Delhi, May 26
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is set to meet his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang when he travels to Cape Town next week to participate in the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
With Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled to attend the SCO summit in July, a Jaishankar-Qin meeting, their third this year, could see New Delhi pitching for a renewed attempt at disengagement and resolving the LAC standoff in Ladakh.
The meeting will be held against the backdrop of media reports about Chinese insistence on a buffer zone, which would be detrimental to India’s strategic interests. At the BRICS meeting, Jaishankar will also discuss whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will be able to attend the BRICS summit in July. The ICC has issued a warrant against Putin, and South Africa being a member of the ICC is duty-bound to arrest him. The only way out for the BRICS summit to feature all five leaders is for South Africa to announce its withdrawal from the ICC.
The other issue is considering the applications from over a dozen countries to become BRICS members. These countries include Turkey, Indonesia as well as relative minnows Algeria, Argentina, Iran and Egypt. The other countries that have expressed interest are Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Senegal, Thailand, and Afghanistan. In June last year, Iran
formally sought India’s support for its membership in BRICS.
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