India Participates in the First Meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers Post Expansion in Russia

Foreign Affairs

Moscow: India participated in the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which began in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod on June 10, the first assignment for India’s foreign policy under the historic third consecutive term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), led the Indian side at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the BRICS Ministerial with a minute of silence in memory of the deceased former Iran President Ebrahim Raisi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. He offered condolences to the people of Iran and the families of the victims.

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri and several other distinguished guests participated in the meeting. Heads of delegations also posed for a family photo ahead of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting.

While sharing the picture of leaders on X, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated, “Heads of delegations take part in the traditional #FamilyPhoto ceremony ahead of the #BRICS Ministerial.”

This is the first meeting of foreign ministers since the expansion of BRICS in 2023. The 10 full members of the association include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa with new members Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia joining the grouping in 2023. Russia took over the chairmanship of BRICS on January 1, 2024.

In his opening remarks at the BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting, Sergey Lavrov said, “We are glad to welcome you to one of the oldest cities in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod, whose history goes back more than 800 years,” according to the translation of the speech released by Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Today’s meeting will certainly leave a special mark not only in the chronicle of the city’s leading international events but also in the BRICS itself. For the first time, a meeting of the heads of foreign policy departments of the association is being held in a new, expanded composition,” he added.

He noted that the expansion of BRICS is a “clear confirmation of the process of formation of a multipolar world order.” He further said, “New centres for making globally significant political decisions are emerging from among the states of the Global South and East, from the states of the World Majority. These countries advocate a more just way of life based on the sovereign equality of states and civilizational diversity.”

He accused the US and its allies of not abandoning attempts to maintain their elusive dominance and slow down the objective processes of the formation of multipolarity.

Lavrov further said, “At the same time, they use economic instruments as weapons – through sanctions pressure and financial blackmail they try to influence the choice of development models and trading partners by sovereign states. The West does not shy away from using force. Examples are known to everyone: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and several other countries. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

He stated that Russia stands for a more equitable world order based on the sovereign equality of states and taking into account the balance of forces and interests, according to the translation of his speech released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov said, “Recent international events have ‘thrown off the masks’ from those who until now had verbally claimed almost the exclusive right to define ‘universal values’ under the guise of a ‘rules-based order.’ Supporters of this concept are trying to impose norms and mechanisms of interaction that are beneficial only to them, to replace equal, honest dialogue with narrow coalitions that operate in secret and arrogate to themselves the right to speak and act on behalf of the whole world.”

“Russia, like the countries of the World Majority, stands for a more equitable world order, based on the sovereign equality of states and taking into account the balance of forces and interests. Together we aim to advance a forward-looking, constructive international agenda. An important task in this context is strengthening the role of interstate formats that advocate collective approaches to international development,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Minister called BRICS one of those associations where the principles of equal cooperation are implemented in deeds. He expressed confidence that BRICS is driven forward by the wind of change, as its role in solving global problems will only increase.

Lavrov further said, “In this context, we expect productive discussions at a separate session today with the participation of several like-minded BRICS countries.”