Leaders of the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa attended the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.The first in-person meeting since 2019, the 15th BRICS summit saw the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to address the meeting virtually. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the country at the event which was hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development, and inclusive multilateralism” is the theme of the summit this year. PM Modi participated in the BRICS Leaders’ Retreat Meeting, BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue, BRICS–Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue, besides holding a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the summit.
Highlights of the BRICS Summit:
- The five BRICS nations are open to expanding the club to new members, as it pursues greater clout in shaping the world order.
- BRICS consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. In its ongoing summit at Johannesburg, South Africa, it has invited Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Their membership will begin in January.
- Reiterated their commitment towards inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, along with enhancing and improving global governance.
- Among the new members, while India looks at all of them as partnerships worth developing, concerns have been raised that the group could become more pro-China and sideline New Delhi’s voice and interests.
Prime Minister highlighted the following:
- Called for setting defined timelines for UNSC reforms
- Called for reform of Multilateral Financial Institutions
- Called for reform of WTO
- Exhorted BRICS to build consensus on its expansion
- Urged BRICS to send a global message of unity and not polarization
- Proposed creation of a BRICS Space Exploration Consortium
- Offered Indian Digital Public Infrastructure – the Indian stack to BRICS partners
- Proposed undertaking skill mapping, skilling and promoting mobility among BRICS countries
- Proposed joint efforts of BRICS countries for protection of Big Cats under International Big Cat Alliance
- Proposed establishing a repository of traditional medicine among BRICS countries
- Called upon BRICS partners to support AU’s permanent membership of the G20
- From the Indian perspective, BRICS has emerged the voice of developing countries, or the global south.
- With raising challenges on issues from WTO to climate change, New Delhi believes BRICS has to protect the rights of the developing countries.
- India has to maintain the balancing act between Russia-China on the one side and the US on the other.
- India should move closer to Latin America.
- BRICS has put counter-terrorism on top of the agenda, this has been a success for India.
- India is making efforts to address glaring gaps in areas such as counter-terrorism, the fight against climate change and UNSC reform
- India was the main BRICS country behind the establishment of the NDB and proposed the idea at the fourth BRICS summit in New Delhi.
- 2021 BRICS Summit is scheduled in India.
- Where BRICS has failed its founders is in the vision of interdependence between the five countries
- Economic slowdown in all countries
- Despite their combined population accounting for 40% of humanity, intra-BRICS trade still makes up just 17% of world trade.
- The New Development Bank’s (NDB) vision to ‘supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development’ remains far away from realisation.
- So far the only members of NDB are its founders and its own limitations.
- Lack of transparency and good governance among member States with the bank.
- Politically, these countries are not all on the same page at the same time.
- China has been shielding Pakistan and has been uneasy discussing the issue of terrorism on this platform.
- Lack of a binding ideology, bilateral differences, diversity in terms of socio-cultural and political systems
- China’s overwhelming presence, which reduces the space for other countries in the grouping.
- BRICS should promote comprehensive development of all states both big and small and enhanced mutually beneficial cooperation among them on the basis of shared interests.
- A civil society dialogue is much needed.
- BRICS nations should strive for peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crisis and conflict in various regions of the world.
- BRICS, being one of the pillars of the emerging fairer polycentric world order, plays an important stabilising role in global affairs.
- Democratization of international issuese agreements on global agendas should be reached with the widest and equal participation of all stakeholders and be based on universally recognised legal norms.
- The principle of respect for cultural and civilizational diversity of the world should be a top priority.
- In the storming ocean of world politics, BRICS can contribute significantly in maintaining international stability and ensuring global economic growth and becoming a united centre of the multipolar world