Current Affairs PDF

Highlights of PM Narendra Modi visit to SA for 15th BRICS Summit; BRICS officially expands from 5 to 11 members

AffairsCloud YouTube Channel - Click Here

AffairsCloud APP Click Here

Prime Minister’s visit to South Africa (August 22-25, 2023)The Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi visited Johannesburg, South Africa (SA) from August 22-24, 2023 to attend the 3 day annual 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit 2023 at the invitation of  Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of SA.

  • It should be noted that, the SA President Cyril Ramaphosa is the Chair of 15th BRICS Summit.

The BRICS Story:

i.On August 22, 2023, the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue was held in Johannesburg, SA where leaders were briefed on the deliberations of the BRICS Business Forum.

  • Here Indian side highlighted the it’s various reforms to improve the ease of doing business, including technology-based solutions to address the social and economic challenges.

ii.The Indian PM also participated in the BRICS Leaders Retreat at the Summer Place in Johannesburg on August 22, 2023 which was held in a closed format.

  • Here leaders discussed global developments and ways to utilize BRICS platform to find solutions to global challenges.

iii.15th BRICS Summit 2023:

On August 23, 2023, PM Narendra Modi attended the 15th BRICS Summit held under SA’s chairship, in Sandton in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

The theme of 15th BRICS summit was ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism’.

  • This was the first in-person BRICS Summit since 2019.
  • The event reviewed the ongoing initiatives and the identification of future prospects.
  • The leaders engaged in fruitful discussions covering global economic recovery, collaborations with Africa and the Global South, and an assessment of BRICS agenda progress to date.

About Theme:

This theme highlights SA’s five priorities for 2023:

i.Partnering for a fair climate transition and risk management.

ii.Innovating education for future skills.

iii.Utilizing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

iv.Enhancing post-pandemic recovery and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

v.Empowering women in peace processes and global governance reform.


India– PM Narendra Modi

Brazil- President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Russia– Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; President Vladimir Putin participated virtually

China– President Xi Jinping

SA– President- Cyril Ramaphosa (Host)

Invitations were also extended to 67 leaders across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean


By mutual agreement, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, did not attended the Summit.

  • In March 2023, The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes. South Africa, would be required to arrest Putin if he attended the summit.

Highlights by Indian Side:

i.The Indian side  called for a strengthened BRICS that will be:

  • B – Breaking barriers
  • R – Revitalising economies
  • I – Inspiring Innovation
  • C – Creating opportunities
  • S – Shaping the future

ii.The Indian PM emphasized the following points:

  • Emphasized the need for clear timelines for UNSC (United Nations Security Council) reforms.
  • Advocated the reform of Multilateral Financial Institutions.
  • Urged for the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • Encouraged BRICS to find consensus on its expansion.
  • Stressed the importance of conveying global unity rather than polarization.
  • Suggested the formation of a BRICS Space Exploration Consortium.
  • Extended the offer of India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (Indian stack) to BRICS nations.
  • Put forward the idea of collaborative skill mapping, skilling, and mobility promotion within BRICS countries.
  • Proposed collective efforts by BRICS countries to protect Big Cats through the International Big Cat Alliance.
  • Recommended the establishment of a repository for traditional medicine within BRICS nations.
  • Called on BRICS partners to back the African Union(AU)’s permanent membership in the G20 (Group of Twenty).

NDB & TCTA signed Loan Agreement for Lesotho Highlands Water Project

During the summit, a loan agreement was inked between the New Development Bank(NDB), formerly the BRICS Development Bank, and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) for the implementation of phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), the largest bi-national infrastructure project between Lesotho and South Africa 

  • As per it, NDB will provide a project loan of 3.2 billion South African Rand (USD 173 million) to TCTA under the sovereign guarantee of SA.

About Project:

The LHWP is a multi-phased project to provide water to the Gauteng region of SA from Lesotho’s Orange River, facilitating electricity generation through dam construction; and to generate hydroelectricity for Lesotho.  The Project will be co-financed by NDB, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financiers. This is the first project financed by NDB outside of BRICS countries.

  • The project will also benefit North-West, Mpumalanga, and Free State provinces, by enhancing water supply.


It was signed by Vladimir Kazbekov, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NDB and Percy Sechemane, Chief Executive Officer of TCTA.

About Agreement:

TCTA will use the funds to construct the Polihali Dam and reservoir, a 38-kilometre-long water transfer tunnel, roads and bridges, telecommunications infrastructure, and will extend electricity and other development infrastructure to Lesotho.

Key Points:

i.Lesotho, is a small landlocked country bordered on all sides by SA, aims to foster sustainable livelihoods and economic growth for Gauteng province, a major urban center and contributor to South Africa’s GDP.

ii.TCTA, a South African state-owned entity, manages bulk water infrastructure projects.

iii.NDB, formed by BRICS nations and South Africa, mobilizes resources for sustainable development.

  • NDB expanded in 2021, welcoming Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Uruguay.

BRICS officially expands from 5 to 11 members

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the expansion of BRICS with the inclusion of 6 new members’ viz. Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) as its full time members.

  • The membership will come into force from January 1, 2024.

About BRICS:

The grouping was formed in September 2006 and it originally comprised Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). It was renamed as BRICS after South Africa was accepted as a full member in September 2010.

  • At present, the BRICS represents 41% of the global population, 24% of the global GDP and 16% of the global trade.
  • Now, the 11 countries have a combined population of 3.7 billion.

BRICS supports use of national currencies in international, bilateral trade

BRICS members agreed to stand for the use of national currencies in international trade, as well as financial settlements within the association. This decision will strengthen supply chains and payment systems between its members.

BRICS – Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue

The Indian PM participate in a special event ‘BRICS – Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue’ which was organized after the BRICS Summit. Te meeting saw participation from the guest countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, along with the leaders of the BRICS countries.

Highlights from Indian Side:

i.Stressed reform of global institutions for representation and relevance.

ii.Urged cooperation in counter-terrorism, climate action, cybersecurity, food & health security and resilient supply chains.

iii.Invited participation in international initiatives like International Solar Alliance One Sun One World One Grid, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, One Earth One Health, Big Cat Alliance and Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.

iv.Offered sharing of India’s Digital Public Infrastructure Stack.

Other meetings of PM Narendra in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit:

i.On August 23, 2023, the Indian PM had a meeting with the President of SA. The leaders discussed advancements in bilateral relations, particularly in defense, agriculture, trade, investment, health, conservation, and people-to-people connections.

  • They also addressed ongoing collaboration in international organizations and mutual concerns.

ii.On August 24, 2023, the Indian PM also had a meeting with Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, PM of the Republic of Ethiopia.

  • Productive discussions were held covering development partnership, trade, defense, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), agriculture, youth skilling, and people-to-people connections. They also discussed significant regional and global matters.

iii.The PM also met Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, on 24 August 2023 in Johannesburg where they held discussions on  ways to deepen their bilateral partnership across various sectors.

iv.The PM met Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields including trade and investment, connectivity, energy and counter-terrorism. Both sides agreed to fast track infrastructure cooperation, including the Chabahar project.

v.He met Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique where they held productive discussions to further the bilateral ties, including in the areas of parliamentary contacts, defence, counter terrorism, energy, mining, health, trade & investment, capacity building, maritime cooperation and people to people relations.

vi.He met Dr. Himla Soodyall, noted geneticist & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Academy of Science of SA in Johannesburg.

  • They discussed human genetic lines and disease screening, and the PM invited Dr. Soodyall to partner with Indian institutes in genetics.

vii.The PM met Siyabulela Xuza, noted rocket scientist and Founder and Managing Director (MD) of Galactic Energy Ventures.

  • The discussions covered matters related to the future of energy and finding sustainable solutions.

viii.PM Narendra Modi has a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping where both sides agreed to expedite the border troops disengagement and de-escalation in western sector of Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

  • Indian side highlighted concerns at the unresolved issues along the LAC in western sector of the India -China border.

PM gifted pair of ‘surahi‘ to President Cyril Ramaphosa

The Indian PM gifted a pair of ‘surahi‘ from Telangana to SA President Cyril Ramaphosa, and a Nagaland shawl to his wife and first lady of SA. The ‘bidri vase’ is a purely Indian innovation exclusive to Bidar, a Karnataka city. It is cast with an alloy of zinc, copper and other non-ferrous metals.

  • On the other hand, Naga shawls are an exquisite form of textile art that has been woven for centuries by the tribes in Nagaland in the northeastern part of India.
  • These shawls are known for their vibrant colours, intricate designs, and the use of traditional weaving techniques. Each Naga shawl tells a unique story, reflecting the tribe’s history, beliefs and way of life.
  • He also gifted also carried silver nakkashi, whose patterns are first drawn on paper and then transferred on silver sheets.

The PM gifted a Gond painting from Madhya Pradesh (MP) to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Recent Related News:

i.President of India, Droupadi Murmu, paid a visit to Suriname and Serbia from 4th to 9th June 2023. She visited Paramaribo, Suriname at the invitation of Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname and Serbia at the invitation of Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia.

ii.PM Narendra Modi made a 5-day visit to the United States of America from 20th to 24th June 2023, at the invitation of President of USA Joseph Robinette Biden Jr (Joe Biden) and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. So far, PM Modi has visited the USA 6 times(2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 & 2021) in his capacity as the PM of India. However, the June 2023 visit marks his first ever ‘state visit’ to the USA, which, as per diplomatic protocol, is the highest-ranked visit.

About South Africa:
President– Cyril Ramaphosa
Currency– South African Rand
Capital– Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial)