During the Fifteenth edition of the BRICS Summit held in South Africa, a significant announcement was made regarding the expansion of the group. This coalition of prominent and populous emerging economies, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, revealed their decision to welcome six new countries into their ranks starting from the upcoming year. The BRICS Summit participants concurred during their customary meeting to grant full membership to Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, effective January 1, 2024. This move underlines BRICS’ intent to play a role in reshaping the global order by embracing additional nations with substantial economic and geopolitical influence.
In the official BRICS declaration from Johannesburg:
Emphasis on Inclusive Multilateralism as per UN Charter.
Call for Comprehensive UN Security Council Reform.
IMF Reform for Multilateral Representation.
Launch of BRICS Digital Economy Working Group.
Anticipated BRICS Payment Task Force Report.
Expansion of BRICS New Development Bank.
Strengthening BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement.
Support for 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Commitment to UN Climate Change Convention.
Addressing the Gap among BRICS.
BRICS Pushes for UN Security Council Reform: Advocating Inclusion and Global Influence
In a notable collective statement, BRICS nations have pressed for reform within the UN Security Council, advocating for the addition of permanent seats for India, Brazil, and South Africa. This strategic initiative aims to confront global challenges while granting emerging nations from Africa, Asia, and Latin America the opportunity to exert more substantial influence on the international stage, notably within the United Nations, including its Security Council. Notably, China has long thwarted India’s progression toward permanent Security Council membership. Looking ahead, this declaration lays a foundation for the potential inclusion of India, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and Germany in any discussions concerning the future expansion of the Security Council.
DISENGAGEMENT AND DEESCALATION FOR NORMALIZATION OF INDO-CHINA TIES.
In anticipation of the upcoming G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in an informal and unstructured dialogue with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. During this interaction, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the urgency of swiftly disengaging and deescalating tensions along the entire Line of Actual Control (LAC) to facilitate the normalization of bilateral relations. This conversation took place in light of the Expert Group Meeting held in Beijing to address the China-Bhutan boundary matters.
Amidst the backdrop of the Doklam standoff near the significant Siliguri Corridor, which crucially links India’s North East with the rest of the nation, the Indian government is closely monitoring developments. The defense forces have taken preparedness measures, including the deployment of Heron Mark-2 drones and upgraded MIG 29 squadrons in Srinagar. These measures are aimed at countering any potential actions from what’s colloquially referred to as the “Sino-Pak evil axis.”
India’s Vision for a Collaborative BRICS Ecosystem
Furthermore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended several noteworthy propositions adopting India’s UPI payments interface for seamless transactions within BRICS nations. He also suggested forming a BRICS Space Exploration Consortium to enhance collaborative space research. Additionally, he proposed sharing India’s technological platforms like DIKSHA, ATAL labs, BHASHINI, COWIN, and India Stack for mutual technological preparedness. Skill-mapping across BRICS was highlighted for understanding collective capabilities. The Prime Minister advocated a repository for traditional medicine and collaborative protection measures for shared big cat species conservation. These proposals reflect his commitment to cooperation, innovation, and growth within BRICS.
BRICS Expansion and Challenges in Pursuit of a New Global Order
After extensive deliberations involving around 40 interested nations, BRICS reached a unanimous decision to welcome six new members in its initial phase of expansion. This historic move aims to establish an alternative global order, countering the dominance of the dollar. The newly expanded BRICS bloc, encompassing 36% of the world’s GDP and 46% of its population, presents a diverse landscape of inherent disparities and distinctions, unlike the G7 Anglo-Saxon alliance known for its cohesive stance.
While the group acknowledged its expansion, the creation of a BRICS currency was deferred due to substantial disagreements. India, in particular, opposed the idea, given ongoing tensions with China, its adversary. Instead, the members agreed to employ local bilateral trade settlement mechanisms temporarily. Notably, with influential energy exporters such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Brazil, and the UAE joining the fold, there’s a likelihood of transactions being conducted in local currencies.
China had proposed a shared BRICS currency, but its high debt-to-GDP ratio, hovering around 280 percent across households, corporations, government, and shadow banking sectors, poses a challenge. This situation limits China’s capacity to financially support BRICS and employ the Yuan as a backing currency. Among the new entrants, aside from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, several members are grappling with internal challenges. Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict has put pressure on the Rouble, while India’s proactive role in global affairs, including its Vaccine Diplomacy and humanitarian aid efforts, positions it as a significant player in the expanded BRICS arrangement.
INDIA’s ascending influence on the Eve of G20 and ASEAN Summit
Given India’s prominent role as a leader of the Global South, it is well-positioned to voice the concerns and aspirations of developing nations within the BRICS framework. By effectively utilizing these strengths and engaging proactively in diverse working groups and collaborative ventures, India has the potential to make substantial contributions to the collective advancement, influence, and global significance of the expanded BRICS consortium.