China hosts BRICS summit amid tensions with India


China is hosting the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa for an annual summit overshadowed by a recent military stand-off between China and India over a disputed border.

New Delhi only confirmed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would attend the event on Tuesday, a day after the world's two most populous countries agreed to pull back troops from the Himalayan border.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also hosting presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Jacob Zuma of South Africa in the coastal city of Xiamen for the three-day event, where they will try to assuage differences and boost economic cooperation.

The BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - group of emerging economies has positioned itself as a counterweight in a Western-dominated world order.

Covering more than 25 per cent of the world's land area, and more than 40 per cent of its population, the group generated 22.5 per cent of 2015 world gross domestic product, the group states citing International Monetary Fund estimates.

But questions about the group's viability arose as the India-China row threatened to morph into a bigger conflict and as the other three members grapple with sluggish economies.

China has also invited Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to the summit under the "BRICS Plus" approach.

The leaders will be tasked with setting up a cooperation system among their countries as well as strengthening economic and development ties, said Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of international relations at Renmin University.

"Currently, cohesion within the BRICS is doubtful," Cheng told dpa. "For example, even if [China and India's] border issue has been settled temporarily, there is no system to prevent a similar case from happening again."

The original group BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India and China - convened in a first formal summit in 2009. The annual meetings continued after South Africa joined in 2010.

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