As per Chinese state media, the meeting adopted a joint statement on cooperation in new industries such as 5G, AI and the industrial Internet, among BRICS countries – five members bloc which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China urged the BRICS countries to strengthen their cooperation on digital transformation, especially in 5G, AI and the digital economy, to promote the digital transformation of enterprises and their innovation capabilities, and to promote sustainable economic and social development.
The Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing said that Beijing is actively considering the establishment of a BRICS innovation base in China, in order to strengthen practical cooperation with the BRICS. Monday’s video meeting comes ahead of the proposed meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers’ in early September, arranged by the current BRICS chair Russia.
India and China are currently seeing their bilateral relations undergoing a rough phase after 15th June Galwan valley clashes as China is reluctant to restore the status quo ante to the mid-April position after which China started amassing troops and supplies near the agreed Line of Actual Control. This has also impacted the economic ties between the two countries with India taking the path of self-reliance depending on imports for necessary items only, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and strategy of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. India has also banned some chinese apps and put tighter scrutiny for foreign investments from its neighbouring countries including China.
China’s push for cooperation in 5G among BRICS countries may be seen in the backdrop of China’s efforts to push Huawei internationally with regard to development of 5G infrastructure, despite the company being embroiled in controversies in many countries.
As the world economies including China are battling the onslaught of COVID-19, Xiao said that “BRICS countries should cooperate to promote economic recovery, strengthen communication and sharing their experiences in epidemic prevention and control, guarantee medical supplies, resume work and production, and promote economic development during COVID-19,”. He also urged BRICS countries to strengthen the industrial chain and supply chain, enhance development resilience and the countries’ abilities to respond to risks, and jointly create a good development environment.
It may be mentioned that India is working on making its supply chain more resilient and diversified rather than heavily relying on any one country. Recently, due to COVID-19 situation, Russia has postponed BRICS and SCO summits scheduled in July which could have been a meeting point between leaders of India and China after the June border standoff.
ANSHUMAN MISHRA/ PBSC/ BEIJING