April 28: BRICS Chair, Russia convened a Video Conference of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations today. The meeting was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey Lavrov and was participated by External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar from India, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil Amb. Ernesto Araújo, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Mr. Wang Yi, and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa Ms. Grace Naledi Pandor.
This video conference was convened to discuss the COVID 19 crisis, its impact and the activities to be undertaken in response to the pandemic. Shri Jaishankar thanks the Russian FM for convening this extraordinary meeting and noted that BRICS brings over 42% of the global population and it has an important role to play in shaping the global economic and political architecture.
Shri Jaishankar highlighted the initiatives and various decisive steps taken early by India including Aarogya Setu Citizen App and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package. He highlighted that much before the outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern by WHO, India instituted measures to check Corona Virus. He apprised the BRICS Foreign Ministers about the initiative to coordinate efforts to contain COVID-19 in South Asia, and creation of COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund by the SAARC countries. India is providing pharma assistance to nearly 85 nations, including many countries in Africa, SAARC, South America, etc., on a grant basis, to support their response to the pandemic. This has been widely welcomed.
EAM emphasized that the pandemic is not only posing a great risk to the health and well being of humanity but is also severely impacting the global economy and output by disruption of global trade and supply chains. Economic activity across sectors has been negatively impacted leading to loss of jobs and livelihoods. He emphasized that we need to provide support to businesses, especially MSMEs, to tide over the crisis and ensure livelihoods are not lost. EAM pointed out that the efficacy of traditional medicine systems to strengthen immunity should be recognized and that BRICS should support these efforts.
India also reaffirmed its strong support for the overall theme of “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”.