BRICS was launched by a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2006 and riding on the political synergy created by regular summits since 2009, BRIC turned itself into BRICS in 2010, with the entry of South Africa. The grouping has gone through a reasonably productive journey. It strove to serve as a bridge between the Global North and Global South.
RELEVANCE OF BRICS – +VE
In the past 16 years, BRICS cooperation has been driven by “the three wheels of economy and trade, political security and people-to-people exchanges”
- Expanding trade: BRICS share of the world exports rose significantly from the years 1996 to 2008, from 9% to 17%.
- Setting up the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA): to provide mutual financial support, and as a contribution to the global financial safety net.
- Establishment of New Development Bank: It marks a departure from the practices and procedures of the west-dominated IMF and World Bank.
- BRICS as a new stakeholder in 21st-century Global Agenda: The economic potential and demographic development is putting the BRICS countries, increasingly in a leading position in setting the global agenda and having a greater say in global governance.
- Commitment on NIR: the operationalisation of the Partnership on New Industrial Revolution is underway. It is focused on cooperation in digitalisation, industrialisation, innovation, inclusiveness and investment. This partnership will be concretized by establishing industrial and science parks, innovation centres and business incubators.
- Adopting the Beijing Declaration: It states that BRICS supports talks between Russia and Ukraine. The grouping is willing to support the United Nations’ and the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Countries also expressed concerns about the situation in Taliban-held Afghanistan.
- Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption: The BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption aims to further strengthen anti-corruption capacity building through education and training programs and enhance anti-corruption exchanges and cooperation within multilateral frameworks.
- Framework for Consumer Protection in E-commerce: The declaration welcomed the establishment of the Digital Economy Working Group by upgrading the E-commerce Working Group. And the BRICS nations have agreed to promote consumer protection in e-commerce by advancing the implementation of BRICS Framework for Consumer Protection in E-commerce.
- More Focus on Combating Transnational Drug Trafficking: The latest BRICS summit expressed concern over the serious drug situation in the world. BRICS declaration appreciate BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group’s active role in combating transnational drug trafficking and promoting global drug governance and will further strengthen drug control cooperation.
However, there are many issues which are hurdles to its growth or in a way, reduce its relevance. The grouping has become increasingly dominated by Chinese interests, with Moscow even more dependent on Beijing following its Ukraine invasion. Russia is an autocracy, but even democratic South African intellectual and policy-making circles have been the target of Chinese influence efforts and increasingly toe Beijing’s line. At the same time, Sino-Indian relations have been irreparably damaged since the 2020 Galwan clash. During the latest BRICS summit, Beijing sought to use the meeting to launch its new “global security initiative”, but given that India’s major security threat remains cross-border terrorism financed and supported by elements in the Pakistani establishment, which is propped up by Beijing, any notion of common security considerations seems vague.
The two events in the recent times that have had a profound impact on the world order are the Covid-19 pandemic which though has abated to some extent yet it has shown up the many fault lines that exist in the international system; and the second event that is causing reverberations in the world order is Ukraine crisis which again has divided the world in many ways. These events also indicate that the global community remains interconnected despite the attempts by some countries to look inwards and get isolated etc. It’s time to increase investments to bolster trade and job opportunities in BRICS nations. The future of BRICS depends on the adjustment of the internal and external issues of India, China and Russia. Mutual communication between India, China and Russia is important for moving ahead.