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BRICS: Inter-Continental Allies

BRICS: Inter-Continental Allies

Attention of the world is largely focused upon two events important from geo-political perspective that happened simultaneously. Firstly, BRICS Summit, the group had its 15th summit from August 22nd-24th, 2023, in Johannesburg in South Africa. Secondly, India’s space organization launched Chandrayaan on moon successfully, first of its kind to land on South Pole opening a way for new information for space research.

This article gives an overview of 15th BRICS Summit for two reasons. Primarily, as it expands organization in terms of geographical coverage. And, it plans to Co-Operate upon more areas presented to the developing countries either in terms of challenges or opportunities for their development.

Formation of BRICS

The leaders of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries met for the first time in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the margins of G8 Outreach Summit in July 2006. Shortly afterwards, in September 2006, the group was formalised as BRIC during the 1st BRIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which met on the sidelines of the General Debate of the UN Assembly in New York City.

After a series of high level meetings, the 1st BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on 16 June 2009.

BRIC group was renamed as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) after South Africa was accepted as a full member at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010. Accordingly, South Africa attended the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya, China on 14 April 2011.

BRICS is an important grouping bringing together the major emerging economies from the world, comprising 41% of the world population, having 24% of the world GDP and contributes over 16% to the world trade.

Three Pillars of BRICS:

  1. Political and Security– To enhance cooperation and dialogue on issues of global and regional security, developments in the global political space as well as the reform of the multilateral system to make it relevant for the 21st century. Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and its financing remains an important element under this pillar.
  2. Economic and Financial– To promote economic growth and development for mutual prosperity through expansion of intra-BRICS cooperation in sectors such as trade, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, energy, finance & banking etc. BRICS cooperation under this pillar is aimed to promote collaborative approaches as well as innovative methods for the attainment of Sustainable development Goals.
  3. Cultural and People-to-people exchanges– To enrich intra-BRICS people to people contacts in cultural , academic, youth, sports, business, through regular exchanges. Exchanges among Parliamentarians, young scientists etc. are also held under this pillar of BRICS cooperation.

Western Countries Perspectives

The BRICS are a disparate mix of big and small economies, democratic and authoritarian states, and the candidates seeking membership and those admitted to the club also reflect this variety. But despite differences, BRICS leaders expressed a common belief that the international system was dominated by western states and institutions and was not serving the interests of developing nations.

Updates from 15th Summit from South Africa

  • Geographical Coverage

Six nations, namely, Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are to become full members from 1 January 2024. Nearly two dozen countries had formally applied to join the club from across the “global south”, a broad term referring to non-western nations.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said, “The expansion is also a new starting point for BRICS cooperation. It will bring new vigour to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the force for world peace and development. China will allocate more resources for global development cooperation. We will upgrade the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund. We will also increase input to the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund. Such efforts will further support cooperation under the Global Development Initiative (GDI). ”

Over here, establishment of inter-continent ties can be seen and existing ones would get improved through dialogues and deliberations.  

  • Areas under Consideration for Co-Operation

Speaking at the opening of the Summit, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel said, ‘’Africa is no longer simply a raw material supplier, but Africa is taking its place in the world as an innovator. The world has struggles, but the world also has brave individuals to confront those troubles. We can make our future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the BRICS summit in a video link address said, “The partner countries are successfully implementing their Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025. In particular, they are strengthening five-sided cooperation in such areas as diversification of supply chains, de-dollarisation and the transition to national currencies in mutual transactions, digital economy, support for small and medium-sized businesses, and fair technology transfer. And of course, businesses are taking an active part in these processes. The BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance are putting in a lot of effort.

The global transition to a greener, low carbon emissions economy would have to be ‘gradual, balanced, carefully calibrated’, given projections for further growth in the world’s population and energy demand.

Russia will assume the BRICS Chairmanship next year. Its motto will be Strengthening Multilateralism for Justice in Global Development and Security. We intend to hold about 200 events on political, economic and social matters in over ten Russian cities. We expect to hold the BRICS Summit in October 2024 in Kazan”.

Brazil Minister of Finance Fernando Haddad said Brazil believes in clean energy. ‘’We process biodiesel. We have green deals, and we have started with green hydrogen. There is a big participation in using technology for green energy. We would like to export clean energy and products. Brazil had all the necessary minerals for the transition, and Africa and South America could help in diversification. ’’

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, “We, the BRICS member countries, have had a very similar view of the governance of the global economy. And so our mutual cooperation can make a useful contribution to post-Covid global recovery. Over the years, we have made a number of institutional reforms in BRICS, which have increased the effectiveness of this organization. It is also a matter of happiness that the membership of our New Development Bank has also increased. There are many areas where the lives of our citizens are getting directly benefitted from our mutual cooperation. For example, establishment of vaccine R&D center, coordination among custom departments, establishment of shared satellite constellation, mutual recognition of pharmaceutical products, etc.”

In conclusion, it can be said that BRICS is exploring multiple areas for Co-operation from food and energy security to Space research collaboration. The effect of the collaboration could be beneficial for the rest of the world given forward developmental linkages of the sectors. Furthermore, the priorities of member or non-member nation can be identified and accommodated along the line for global inclusive growth and development.   

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