India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday congratulated leaders of six countries invited as full members as he addressed the BRICS Africa Outreach forum on Thursday.
This comes as a significant step to expand its influence, the bloc leaders have invited Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates to join the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) alliance.
“On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of BRICS, we have taken the decision to expand this forum. India has always fully supported this expansion. Such an expansion will make BRICS stronger and more effective.," PM Modi tweeted.
PM Modi also said that BRICS nations and friendly nations present in the summit can contribute to strengthening a multipolar world.
PM Modi also highlighted the historic relationship shared between the South Asian nation and the African countries.
“India has given high importance to relations with Africa. We have opened 16 new missions in Africa. Today, India is Africa's fourth largest trade partner and the fifth largest investor.”
“Around 4,400 Indian peacekeepers which also include women are deployed in Africa to restore peace. We are working with Africa in the fight against terrorism & piracy,” he said.
This latest effort, especially by Beijing and Moscow, is seen by many experts as an attempt to forge the bloc into a viable counterweight to the West.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the new candidates would be admitted as members on January 1, 2024. As per the African nation, more than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining the bloc with 22 formally asking to be admitted.
PM Modi also engaged in a brief interaction with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg. The two nations have been locked horns in the Himalayas since 2020.