Johannesburg – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mentioning big cats, or cheetahs, as he made remarks at Plenary Session I of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg today.
Ramaphosa said South Africa is the home of cheetahs and if India wants more, the country is willing to donate.
“We were pleased, as South Africa, to donate cheetahs to India. You informed me that the cheetahs arrived well and alive in India, and I told you that we are willing to donate more because you are a country that takes care of big cats. We thank you for that; should you need more cheetahs, you’ve come to the home of cheetahs,” said Ramaphosa.
Modi said that in all five BRICS countries, a number of species of “big cats” can be found in large numbers.
“Under the international big cat alliance, we can make joint efforts for their protection,” said Modi.
He said all the BRICS countries have traditional medicine ecosystems.
“Can we, together, create a repository of traditional medicine?” said Modi.
Ramaphosa said on the issue of the traditional medicine repository that South Africa has a big community of people involved with traditional medicine.
“We are willing to co-operate, and I am sure the same applies to all other members of BRICS. And in this you will find great support from all of us to create a traditional medicine repository. We should not continue to be dependent on Western medicine; we should also depend on our own traditional medicine,” Ramaphosa said.
More than 20 countries around the world have expressed their wish to join the bloc.
Modi said India fully supports the expansion of membership.
“India fully supports the expansion of BRICS membership, and we welcome moving forward on this consensus. In 2016, during India’s presidency, we defined BRICS as a group building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions.
“Seven years later, we can say that BRICS will be breaking barriers, revitalising economies, inspiring innovation, creating opportunities, and shaping the future. With all BRICS partners, we will continue to actively contribute to making this new definition meaningful,” Modi said.
Most of the BRICS members said they were in support of the expansion of the membership.
“South Africa supports the expansion of the membership of BRICS. The value of BRICS extends beyond the interests of its current members,” said Ramaphosa. “For its efforts to be effective, BRICS needs to build partnerships with other countries that share its aspirations and perspectives.
“Expanding BRICS will represent a diverse group of nations with different political systems that share a common desire to have a more balanced global order,” Ramaphosa said.