Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday arrived in South Africa on a four-day visit to attend the BRICS Summit in Durban that could launch a development bank for the five-nation grouping and discuss ways to reform governance in international financial institutions.
The prime minister is leading a high-level delegation including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.
He will also have an opportunity to meet the new Chinese leadership on the Summit sidelines when he calls on President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
The highlight of the first BRICS Summit on the African soil of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) is the possible setting up of a development bank for undertaking infrastructure and development projects.
The idea of the bank, mooted by India last year during its presidency, has been supported by China. However, prime minister's departure statement made no mention of the BRICS bank.
The meeting of the $12 trillion grouping also comes at a time when the global economy is still grappling problems of slowdown. The leaders are expected to take a call on scaling up intra-BRICS trade to a new level of $50 billion discussed sometime ago by their commerce ministers.
The other major issue coming up at the Summit is the need for reforms of global financial governance architecture and spurring infrastructure building in the developing world.
Photograph: B Mathur/Reuters