The Telegraph
Sunday , November 16 , 2014

PM roots for Brics bank

Narendra Modi with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Brisbane on Saturday. (PTI)

Brisbane, Nov. 15 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a strong pitch for speeding up the creation of a Brics development bank and hoped that an agreement could be reached by the year-end so that the financial institution can start functioning from 2016.

“The historic sixth Brics summit in Fortaleza delivered the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. These signal our collective capacities to create and manage global institutions,” said Modi.

“We propose that we should set the target of 2016 for inauguration of this bank. We hope to ratify the agreement by the end of the year. We would soon nominate our candidate for the post of the presidency,” Modi said, making a strong pitch for the early operationalisation of the bank.

India will hold the presidency of the $100-billion New Development Bank for the first six years. The bank will be based in Shanghai.

India’s presidency will be followed by Brazil and Russia, each having a five-year term, under an agreement reached after intense negotiations among Brics nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The decision to set up the bank and a $100-billion Currency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that will help countries to deal with short-term liquidity pressures was made at the sixth Brics summit held in Fortaleza in July.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma attended the informal meeting along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit here.

Modi said the bank and the CRA could be effective in promoting sustainable development and bridging infrastructure gaps. “We can be more aligned to local conditions and requirements. We should focus on next-generation infrastructure. We can promote new models of governance and financing, while maintaining the highest banking standards,” Modi said.

“We should also make it more participatory. We need to work towards their early implementation,” he said. Talking about the CRA, the Prime Minister said it is a “very timely” initiative.

He said the work on the reinsurance pool among Brics is also a welcome one. “We hope that our officials would be able to come up with a concrete proposal by next year,” Modi said.

Speaking at the informal meeting of Brics leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Brics countries should actively participate in international multilateral cooperation and raise their voice in global economic governance.

Economic cooperation serves as the lasting powerhouse for the development of the Brics countries, Xi said.

The Brics countries should remain committed towards drafting long-term blueprint for economic cooperation and forging a closer economic partnership by facilitating market inter-linkages, financial integration, infrastructure connectivity as well as people-to-people contacts, he added.

All sides should step up efforts for the establishment of the New Development Bank and the CRA since both are of great significance, he said.

Xi also said the cooperation between Brics countries should be driven by the two “wheels” of the economy and politics so that the Brics can act as not only the world’s economic engine, but also a shield for world peace.

The Brics countries should cooperate and coordinate in world’s politics and security to safeguard the world’s fairness and justice, he added.

The Brics bank aims to reduce western dominance of the global financial system. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world’s economic system for the past 70 years but the Bretton Woods institutions are regularly criticised for their inability to reflect the contributions of the major emerging economies to the global economy.

“These measures send a strong message to the rest of the world about the efficacy of Brics.”