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Saturday, April 2, 2011

India, China in talks for tough stand on Libyan air strikes

BEIJING: China is in talks with India and other BRICS members to take a stern stand against Western allies' air strikes on Libya at their forthcoming summit in the country. BRICS, an organisation of emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will meet at Sanya in Hainan province on April 14.

"If the issue (of air strikes) is discussed and a consensus reached, it will be reflected in the outcome document of the summit," China's assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong told reporters here. Beyond this, he did not specify whether China would take the lead in raising the issue during the BRICS summit.

China had abstained from voting on the UN Security Council resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya along with Russia, India and Brazil. Energy hungry Beijing is worried about the situation in the region's oil rich countries like Libya that has begun to influence petroleum prices. Source said India might also support the discussion on the issue because of its high oil import bills.

Wu said the UN Security Council reforms and India's attempts for a permanent membership would not be discussed at the summit. "It's not on the meeting's set agenda. BRICS is not the appropriate forum to discuss this as the reform process concerns all UN members," he said.

He said China favours BRICS's expansion and inclusion of new members. "Several countries in the emerging world are keen to join it," he said, adding that China is doing its bit to strengthen BRICS's role. "(China is) organising a BRICS health ministers' meeting (besides) two other agriculture, science and technology meets," Hu said.

Wu also ruled out any discussion on Chinese yuan's exchange rate. A weak yuan has led to lower export performance of many countries including India.

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