“At the invitation of President Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the 12th BRICS Summit hosted by Russia, under the theme ‘Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth’ on November 17,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. The BRICS is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population. The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.

The MEA said the leaders would be discussing intra-BRICS cooperation and key issues in the global context, including the reform of the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation in counter-terrorism, trade, health, energy and people-to-people exchanges. “India will be taking over the chair of the BRICS, which would be the third BRICS Presidency for India since its inception (after 2012 and 2016) and will host the 13th BRICS summit in 2021,” the MEA said.

Moscow seems to be continuously playing the role of a silent mediator between India and China during the current crisis. It’s important to note that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi also met in person during the pandemic in Moscow on the sidelines of the SCO ministerial meeting in September where they came out with a 5-point proposal to diffuse the tension along the LAC.

The joint press release had said that the current situation is not in the interest of either side, and the border troops should continue dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions. It also spoke about more confidence-building measures to be undertaken once the current tension eases.

Jaishankar had also engaged with Wang at the Russia-India-China (RIC) meeting just a week after the Galwan Valley clashes. There was much speculation that after the loss of 20 soldiers, India may not attend the meeting. However, with Moscow leading the trilateral, India did not back out of it too due to a bilateral issue with China.

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