India has urged the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries to set up an independent rating agency of the group, according to an Indian official.
The renewed call for setting up a BRICS Rating Agency was given by Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg at the first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Washington on Thursday on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, a Finance Ministry statement said.
“He (Garg) requested the Presidency to receive and take forward the report to be submitted by the expert group set up under the aegis of the BRICS Business Council to study the feasibility of the BRICS Rating Agency,” the statement said.
At the BRICS Summit in Xiamen in China held in September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had strongly pitched for the setting up of a rating agency to counter the western “big three” institutions — S&P, Moody’s and Fitch — and cater to the financial needs of developing nations.
According to the Ministry, the other issues discussed during the meeting related to enhancing the project pipelines of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) evenly across member countries and expansion of the NDB’s membership.
It also discussed the South African Presidency’s proposal for setting up a working group on illicit financial flows and a BRICS Task Force on public-private partnership.
Issues related to the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) as well as the BRICS Bond Fund were also discussed, the statement said.
Garg emphasised in his interventions that India had been a constructive participant in the discussions on NDB’s membership expansion, it said.
“He expressed that a more careful and cautious approach on the value and additional benefits new members will bring to the Bank would be desirable rather than setting deadlines which are practically difficult to achieve,” it added.
On the issue of expanding the NDB’s project pipeline across member nations evenly, Garg said the objective had to be balanced with the member country’s requirement of infrastructure financing.