BRICS calls for UNSC reforms

In a boost to Indian efforts at obtaining a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group on Thursday for the first time called for "comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council". In the last summit in Brasilia, the declaration had stopped short of specifying the UNSC.

According to Indian officials, this represented a step forward on the part of the Chinese to endorse the aspirations of India, Brazil and South Africa for permanent membership of the UNSC.

The Sanya declaration also underscores the concurrent presence of all five BRICS countries in the present UNSC as "a valuable opportunity to work closely issues of peace and security".

Further, in the context of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, leaders of the five countries reaffirmed their support for nuclear energy as an "important element in the future energy mix of BRICS countries". At the same time, they called for paying more attention to safety standards.

"International cooperation in the development of safe nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should proceed under conditions of strict observance of relevant safety standards and requirements concerning design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants," stated the declaration.

The five leaders — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and South African President Jacob Zuma — also held detailed deliberations on the global economic situation and felt that while the world may have largely come out of the economic crisis, further consolidation is still needed.

Through this discussion, it was agreed that the financial crisis had "exposed the inadequacies of the existing international monetary system, with a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty".

The Chinese contention to focus on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as an alternative got more attention with the five countries agreeing to discuss the possibility of expanding the basket of currencies in the SDRs to make it a viable option. It may be noted that China is keen to have the Yuan included in this basket.

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