(L to R) Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma pose for a group photo during the BRICS Summit in Goa, October 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
A summit of the BRICS group of countries has entered its second day in India, with leaders reviewing international politics and economy.
The 8th BRICS Summit resumed on Sunday with meetings and a closed-door dinner attended by leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in the beach town of Benaulim in the state of Goa.
Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters on Saturday that leaders would discuss ways to “increase intra-BRICS trade and cooperation.”
BRICS was formed in 2011 with the aim of using the members’ collective growing economic and political influence to enhance each member state.
The nations, with a joint estimated GDP of 16 trillion dollars, set up their own bank in parallel to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank and hold summits rivaling the G-7 forum.
But the five BRICS countries, which together account for more than half of the world’s 7.4 billion population, have been hit hard by falling global demand and lower commodity prices.
Russia and Brazil have fallen into recession recently. South Africa only just managed to avoid the same fate last month, while China’s economy has lost momentum as well.
India, however, is now the world’s fastest-growing major economy in an otherwise gloomy environment, and its GDP is expected to grow 7.6 percent in 2016-17.
In this handout photograph received on October 15, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin (1st-L) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (1st-R) at the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa. (Via AFP)
Meanwhile, the event witnessed a flurry of bilateral meetings between leaders on Saturday.
The Russian president met one on one with the leaders of China, India and South Africa to reportedly garner support for the war on terrorism in Syria.
India was said to be seeking the group’s cooperation on enhancing trade as well as climate change, while also seeking discussion on regional security, including the recent flare-up of tensions with archrival Pakistan.
Taking place at the same time in Goa is a meeting of heads of a seven-nation grouping called BIMSTEC.
Myanmar’s Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and the leaders of Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal are set to hold talks focused on trade. Thailand’s prime minister is not attending due to the death of the country’s king.

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