EAM Jaishankar emphasized that the world was rebalancing and old ways could not address new situations
In a significant speech at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday (June 1, 2023), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar flagged the need for change and collective action to address the current global issues. He asserted that the BRICS countries must assume responsibility for acting appropriately since they serve as symbols of transformation.

“The global environment today, demands that we, the BRICS nations, approach key contemporary issues seriously, constructively, and collectively. Our gathering must send out a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing, and that old ways cannot address new situations. We are a symbol of change and must act accordingly,” EAM Jaishankar said in his opening remarks at the meeting.

Referring to the devastating after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the stresses arising from conflict, and the economic distress of the Global South, he maintained that they underlined the deep shortcomings of the current international architecture which does not reflect today’s politics, economics, demographics or indeed aspirations.

“For two decades, we have heard calls for reform of multilateral institutions, only to be continuously disappointed. It is therefore imperative that BRICS Members demonstrate sincerity in regard to reforming global decision making, including that of the UN Security Council,” he continued.

The BRICS Foreign Ministers' Meeting held special significance amid an increasingly challenging international landscape. In his opening remarks, EAM Jaishankar thanked South Africa and Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor for hosting the event.

He also used the opportunity to explain how “economic concentration that leaves too many nations at the mercy of too few” was at the heart of the problems faced by the world. “This may be in regard to production, resources, services or connectivity. Recent experiences impacting health, energy and food security only highlight this fragility. India undertook the Voice of the Global South exercise to place these issues before the G20. We urge that BRICS give it particular consideration and promote the economic decentralization that is so essential to political democratization,” he pointed out.

Highlighting terrorism as a major threat to international peace and security, EAM Jaishankar called for resolute action against this menace in all its forms, including its financing and propaganda. He added that terrorism should never be condoned under any circumstances, and concerted efforts are required to combat it effectively.

Additionally, the External Affairs Minister called attention to two crucial initiatives: India's Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) project and the United Nations' proclamation of 2023 as the International Year of Millets. He emphasized the importance of both projects and urged all of the BRICS countries to endorse them.