China has recently hosted the 14th BRICS Summit
China has recently hosted the 14th BRICS Summit via video link to discuss the range of issues of mutual concern as part of the summit. The summit, held under the theme of "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development," and was its opportunity to showcase multi-lateralism, Beijing’s big foreign policy slogan, & once again to hit out at US “hegemony”. Aside from the members, China invited 13 nations from across continents to signal its desire to enlarge the group.
BRICS nations touched upon numerous issues at Summit. Amid simmering geo-political tensions, BRICS nations have supported dialogue & diplomacy between Russia & Ukraine. Focus was on the growing strength of the BRICS grouping & global post-pandemic economic recovery. More focus was on combating transnational drug trafficking. There was a Calling for world peace & targeted "Cold War mentality & power politics". BRICS has called for an expeditious finalisation & adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework. BRICS Initiates on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption. Policy coordination for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was also called for by BRICS. The set-up of the Digital Economy Working Group was welcomed by upgrading the E-commerce Working Group. BRICS nations agreed to strengthen cooperation & exchanges in trade in services & the engagement of BRICS national focal points, as established in the BRICS Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Services, with the BRICS Business Council. The BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance was decided to be established by BRICS nations.
Besides the tensions owing to China’s military incursions in Ladakh, PM Modi’s attendance was a bonus. For India, BRICS has always been about its commitment to building non-western alliances, but this time it was, more, an international balancing act. The same for Brazil as well. Bolsonaro visited Moscow on a “solidarity trip” a week before the invasion & has insisted his country stands for “peace”. South Africa too was treading on the neutrality tightrope on Ukraine. As for Russia, President Putin could make his first multilateral outing since February 24. The joint statement was able to find common ground on the invasion of Ukraine by asserting the sanctity of sovereignty & territorial integrity & the need to find a peaceful solution.
The acronym "BRICS" (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim O'Neill. In 2006, A regular informal diplomatic coordination was initiated by ‘’BRIC’’ (Brazil, Russia, India & China), with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This successful interaction led to the level of Heads of State & Government in annual Summits. On the margins of the G8 outreach summit, BRIC started as a formal grouping in 2006. South Africa joined BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS. The Third BRICS Summit in Sanya, China was subsequently attended by South Africa in March 2011. Together, BRICS accounts for about 40% of the world’s population & about 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), making it a critical economic engine. It’s an emerging investment market & global power bloc.
BRICS has yet to live up to its commitment of an economic or trading bloc that can offer alternatives to developing countries. The New Development Bank (NDB), or the BRICS bank, is STILL to catch pace as a multilateral lender of standing. Russia’s being in economic limbo &, China’s push to dominate BRICS, have set limits on what the grouping can expect to achieve. The member-States must go beyond rhetoric & work on improving internal solidarity & mutual trust. As a starting point, Russia needs to maintain peace talks with Ukraine, & China must work for an accord on de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. The increase of unilateral sanctions & facing the rising tide of de-globalisation & technology barriers, BRICS countries must aggrandise mutually beneficial cooperation in supply chains, energy, food & financial resilience, take stringent steps to implement the Global Development Initiative, foster an open world economy & create a favourable environment for common development.