NEW DELHI : India and the other emerging major economies including Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa will strengthen cooperation in digital economy, science, technology and innovation during the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

Modi, who is attending his sixth BRICS summit since taking office in May 2014, in a departure statement also added that India and other emerging nations will also aim to “build mechanisms for counter-terrorism cooperation within the BRICS framework." The prime minister left for Brasilia on Tuesday.

“I look forward to exchanging views with other BRICS leaders with the aim to further strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation particularly on the theme of the Summit ‘Economic growth for an innovative future’," Modi said referring to the theme of the summit this year.

According to Modi’s schedule at Brasilia on Wednesday, Modi is to hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, soon after his arrival. Modi’s meeting with Xi will be his first since the two leaders met at Mamallapuram near Chennai last month for their second informal summit. Modi had earlier met Xi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka in June.

On his meeting with Bolsonaro, Modi said the two leaders would discuss ways to enhance their strategic partnership. “Brazil and India share close and ever expanding bilateral relations, including in the spheres of defence, security, trade, agriculture, energy and space. Close cooperation between the two countries in multilateral forums has been a significant aspect of our strategic relationship," Modi said in his departure statement. Modi’s visit to Brazil comes amidst media reports that Bolsonaro could be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in January 2020.

On Thursday, during the BRICS summit, discussions were expected to centre around challenges and opportunities for the exercise of national sovereignty in the contemporary world, T S Tirumurti, secretary, economic relations, told reporters in New Delhi last week. Intra BRICS cooperation for the economic development will also be a subject that will come up for cooperation, he said. Also on Thursday, the Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies of the five countries are to sign a pact to boost economic linkages, Tirumurti said.

Terrorism is expected to figure prominently during this week’s BRICS summit, Tirumurti said. “This year the joint working group on counter-terrorism has decided to constitute five sub working groups on counter-terrorism in -- terrorist financing, use of Internet for terrorist purposes, countering radicalization, issue of foreign terrorist fighters and capacity-building," he said.

“It is expected that India will chair the subgroup on use of internet for terrorist purposes. In this context during the meetings of the National Security Advisors of BRICS last month, NSA has put forward a proposal to host a BRICS workshop on digital forensics in India. Brazil has also made terrorism as one of its priorities for its presidency," he added.

As a grouping, BRICS brings together the five major emerging economies comprising 43% of the world population, having about 37% of the world’s GDP and about 17% share in the world trade. The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC foreign ministers on the margins of UN General Assembly in New York in September 2006. The first BRIC summit was held in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June 2009. The grouping was expanded to include South Africa in 2010.

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