BRICS is the powerful grouping of the world’s leading emerging market economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
New Delhi: In a show of solidarity, foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa opted for a collective ‘namaste’ during the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting on Tuesday.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chaired the standalone meeting through video conferencing. It was convened by India as the current BRICS Chair.
The meeting was attended by Brazil Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco Franca, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
The foreign ministers of five countries chose ‘namaste’, the traditional Indian way of greeting by folding both hands, to greet each other.
Namaste became a common no-contact way of greeting around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. World leaders also embraced the Indian way of greeting and did away with the traditional handshake.
In his opening remarks during the meeting, Jaishankar said COVID-19 pandemic had prevented him from greeting the leaders in person.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, prevents me from greeting all of you in person. It also continues to provide the larger context in which we assess the world and our policies,” he said.
In her remarks, South African Foreign Minister Pandor thanked Jaishankar for convening the meeting.
“We had hoped to be in India but the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. We thank you for convening this meeting in this way,” she said.
She also extended her condolences over deaths in various countries due to the pandemic.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow in-person meeting of BRICS foreign ministers.
“Unfortunately the spread of coronavirus does not allow us to hold a face-to-face meeting. I would like to express my solidarity with India and its people. We are ready to continue doing whatever we can to help to fight the pandemic. With the joint efforts, we will be able to overcome this pandemic,” he added.