Russia and China Set Dizzying Pace of BRICS Outreach

Russia is already setting the direction of its 2015 chairmanship of the BRICS, by emphasizing that it is “developing a number of major initiatives aimed at expanding investment cooperation” and other forms of “multilateral economic cooperation,” according to a RIA Novosti wire published Monday.

The 2015 BRICS summit will be held July 9-10 in the Russian city of Ufa, along with a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At the end of this week, a meeting of the SCO is scheduled for Sept. 12-13, 2014 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, at which India and Pakistan are expected to join as SCO members. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be in attendance. The Russian approach for 2015 fits with the ongoing BRICS outreach focus at their recent summits. In 2013, when South Africa was chair, they met with OAU nations as well. In 2014, with Brazil assuming the rotating presidency, the BRICS held a joint summit with Unasur. So in 2015, it will be similar with the SCO.

That the BRICS are central to Russia’s thinking was made clear by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who told an international medical media forum in Moscow today, that “after the G8 cooperation came apart, and not because of us, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s considerate attention is focused on increasing the health issues cooperation with the BRICS countries.” This includes cooperation on treating noncommunicable and infectious diseases, biomedical science, etc., he said.

Russia’s bilateral cooperation with China is also proceeding rapidly. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin said Monday that Russia and China would sign an agreement in October on a joint technical project for long-haul wide-bodied aircraft to substitute for foreign purchases. He noted that “the market in China is large enough to make this production cost efficient.”

The two countries have also signed an agreement to establish a joint Russo-Chinese International University between Moscow State University (MSU) and Beijing Polytechnic University

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