Jaishankar skips BRICS meet, Gen Singh to attend

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New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has cancelled his visit to Rio de Janeiro to attend the two-day meeting of BRICS’ foreign ministers due to “parliamentary commitments” and instead Minister of State General (retd) V.K. Singh, a former junior minister with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), will attend.

The July 25-26 meeting is being held in preparation for the summit of the five-nation bloc in November that will be attended by Prime Minster Narendra Modi.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said here on Thursday Gen Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, looked after Latin America as Minister of State in the MEA. “As part of his charge he looked after Latin America and is knowledgeable about the field,” he said.

According to him, Jaishankar has “some parliamentary commitments” and therefore it was decided that Gen Singh will represent him at the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting.

The five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – account for 40 per cent of the global population and over 25 per cent of land.

–IANS

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