By Li Ming, Li Shiwei
NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS Summit in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen will be a good opportunity for member nations to narrow differences and expand cooperation, a leading expert on international affairs said.
Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in a recent interview here that the upcoming summit is very important because it sets a stage to resolve differences among BRICS nations and extend cooperation from economic issues to other areas.
The expert, who is also a visiting professor of Center for Global Affairs at New York University, made the comments nearly a month before the ninth annual BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5.
The BRICS summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that comprise its moniker, along with participants from across the globe.
Sidhu expected member states in the meeting to sustain the momentum on the BRICS' New Development Bank (NDB), as well as other economic arrangements such as infrastructure investment.
The NDB was set up with an initial authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars during the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. It officially opened in Shanghai in 2015.
According to the expert, the NDB is very crucial for BRICS countries in both geopolitical and financial dimensions.
"BRICS countries like China and India are important players in the international financial institutions, but they are not being able to get the right amount of weightage that they deserve," said Sidhu.
He added that reforms in the existing structure such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been very slow, which lead to the creation of new and alternative structures including the NDB.
In terms of finance, the bank plays a critical role in generating new sources of funding for projects in infrastructure and sustainable development, "not only in BRICS countries, but other countries as well," Sidhu noted.
When asked what the other areas the group can work together in the future, the professor called for more cooperation in climate change, cyber security, trade, energy and counterterrorism issues.
He said that once the bilateral differences between BRICS countries be resolved, the summit could really "open up the opportunity to take BRICS to a new level to make it a very important multilateral player."
"BRICS can come to a second blossoming (after 10 years since it was founded), I'm very optimistic," he added.