External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today underlined that multilateralism, international trade and rules based world order was facing "strong head-winds" as she called for joint action by the BRICS nations against money laundering, terrorist-financing and de-radicalisation.
Swaraj, who is on a five-day trip to South Africa, attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Foreign Ministers' meeting. It was held to lay the foundation for the annual summit of the grouping in Johannesburg next month which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Our leaders have also called for making UN Counter Terrorism framework efficient and effective.
"We reiterate our commitment to implement our Leaders' mandate on counter terrorism under South Africa's BRICS Chairship," said Sushma Swaraj.
With BRICS cooperation in strategic security, counter-terrorism, UN reforms, de-radicalisation, cyber security, energy security, international and regional hot-spots being deliberated in detail during meetings of the grouping's National Security Advisors, she said: "Our meeting today takes place at a time when multilateralism, international trade, and rules based world order face strong head-winds.
"Though, the global growth has exhibited signs of recovery, the challenges to long-term growth continue to persist. Ensuring that the benefits of globalization are shared widely remains a challenge."
She also said that BRICS countries have contributed to global stability and growth in a world drifting towards uncertainty.
"We have played an important role in shaping the global economic and political architecture," she said.
Later addressing the media here along with her counterparts from the other BRICS nations, Sushma Swaraj said that India attaches great importance to its engagement with BRICS.
"BRICS brings together almost 42 per cent of global population, with impressive growth, investment and trade share," she said, adding that in Monday's meeting, the leaders exchanged views on current issues of global significance in political, security, and economic spheres.
"We also used to occasion to discuss ways and means to further strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation," she said.
"There exists considerable potential for BRICS to take our cooperation to an even higher level. We appreciate initiatives being undertaken during South Africa's Chairmanship. We are supportive to the theme and priorities listed by South Africa for 2018."
Sushma Swaraj said that health and vaccines, youth, peacekeeping, industrial revolution, tourism, women issues and science, technology and Innovation introduced by host South Africa find positive resonance within BRICS.
According to an External Affairs Ministry statement, she, soon after her arrival here on Sunday, called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and conveyed her felicitations on his assumption of office.
She also stressed how 2018 was of special significance for both as they were commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, 100th birth anniversary of the iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela and the 125th anniversary of the Pietermaritzburg train incident of Mahatma Gandhi.
"The enhanced engagement between the two countries, especially in the aftermath of the India-South Africa Business Summit, and greater cooperation in areas such as skill development, agriculture, IT etc were also discussed," the statement said.
During her visit here, Sushma Swaraj will also chair the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
On Wednesday, she will visit the Phoenix Settlement, a South African Heritage site, marking the place that served as Gandhi's home and where he developed his philosophy of non-violence.
She will also participate in a series of events on Wednesday-Thursday at Pietermaritzburg to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the historic incident in the train compartment that became a catalyst for Gandhi's Satyagraha movement.
The two-day commemoration activities will also include the release of joint commemorative stamps on South African anti-apartheid revolutionary leader Oliver Tambo and one of the founders of India's Bharatiya Jana Sangh Deen Dayal Upadhaya and a youth summit where 20 diaspora youth from Africa and five from India will participate to speak on the relevance of Gandhi's message of peace to the youth of today.
(With agency inputs)