New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday virtually chair the 13th edition of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit with a theme -- "BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus". This is the third time when India will chair the BRICS summit after 2012 and 2016.

The meeting -- which will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro -- is expected to focus on the the Afghanistan crisis. Sources, quoted by news agency ANI, have said that the leaders will discuss ways to fight terrorism and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a "sanctuary to carry out attacks against other countries".

The Taliban had captured the capital city of Kabul on August 15, triggering a refugee crisis in the region. On Tuesday night, the Islamists also announced the new 'acting' government of Afghanistan with Mohammad Hasan as the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the leaders will also discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact.

"As part of India’s ongoing chairship of BRICS in 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the 13th BRICS Summit on September 9 in virtual format," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. "In addition to these areas, the leaders will also exchange views on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other current global and regional issues".

The MEA, meanwhile, has also said that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will also attend the high-level meeting. Besides Doval, President of the New Development Bank Marcos Troyjo, the pro tempore chair of the BRICS Business Council Onkar Kanwar and pro tempore Chair of the BRICS Women's Business Alliance Sangita Reddy will also attend the meet.

The last BRICS summit was chaired by Russia.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma