Politics

Brics summit firms up plans for New Development Bank

Russian president Vladimir Putin has received the leaders and delegations of Brazil, India, China and South Africa at a summit today, where the world's five emerging economies committed to a series of joint political and economic decisions.

The event is hosted in the remote Russian city of Ufa with a high importance for the host country because of its suspension from the G8 over its backing of separatist forces in Ukraine's eastern regions. The five countries known collectively as the Brics countries, representing their initials, met to continue discussions surrounding their soon-to-be opened New Development Bank, which will see the states pool resources together should any of them need a large loan to stabilise their economy.

The bank plans to accumulate a reserve of $100bn (€90.8bn) through investment from the Brics countries. Other members will also be invited to join. At today's summit Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov reiterated that this is not to be viewed as a rival to the World Bank, though that is how the project has widely been viewed.

The leaders also signed a political declaration in which they "reaffirmed [their] strong commitment to the United Nations", condemned terror groups Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra and claimed that the conflict in Ukraine "has no military solution" but rather a political one, according to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass. The agency also reported that leaders discussed the Greek crisis and the fall in the Chinese stock exchange.

Vladimir Dmitriev, the head of Russia's state bank, the Vneshkombank, announced that New Development Bank, commonly known as the 'Brics bank', will begin working at the end of the year. It will begin looking at applications for new projects in the fall of 2016 with the Vneshkombank providing the bulk of the Russian workforce.

The five countries also pleaded for Israel and Palestine to renew peace talks and stressed the importance of creating a system of managing internet use to "secure confidentiality and defend the personal data of users".

Russia's state oil company Rosneft struck a long term deal with India's Essar Oil which will see the two commit to joint construction projects potentially including a pipeline intended to deliver 100 million tonnes of oil to India over 10 years.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled several suggestions for greater integration between the countries including the creation of a Brics sports tournament and a Brics agriculture centre.

Modi also said that he would like the first major project by the Brics bank to be in clean energy and he would like Brics members to prioritise sharing best practice when it comes to digital technology and delivery of services.

The Ufa summit is part of a dual event as it will be followed by a larger summit involving Russia, and China as well as delegations from other countries who are part of another supranational body - the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). An aspiring counterweight to Western political alliances such as the EU, the SCO now plans to invite India and Pakistan to its ranks which currently include Russia, China and the central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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