(Mains GS 2 : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.)
- Beijing has been hosting a virtual forum of the 14th BRICS nations summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ) which account for over 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world's gross domestic product.
- 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 and strove to serve as a bridge between the Global North and Global South.
- It developed a common perspective on a wide range of global and regional issues; established the New Development Bank; created a financial stability net in the form of Contingency Reserve Arrangement and set up a Vaccine Research and Development Center.
The binding glue:
- This bloc of five disparate countries has not only made it to its 14th summit, but has been able to demonstrate some concrete, albeit modest, outcomes of cooperation, such as the emergence of the New Development Bank (NDB), suggesting there remains a strong convergence of interests amid undeniable differences.
- Indeed, ever since the first summit in Yekaterinburg in 2009, BRICS has had more than its fair share of naysayers, particularly in the West, and has been derided as a talk shop.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the summit described the binding glue as “a similar approach to global governance”.
- That approach, according to the lengthy joint Beijing Declaration that followed, was premised on “making instruments of global governance more inclusive, representative and participatory”.
Priorities of the BRICS:
- The first is to pursue reform of multilateral institutions ranging from the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the World Trade Organization and now even the World Health Organization.
- BRICS is attempting to pragmatically shape its counter-terrorism strategy by crafting the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan containing specific measures to fight radicalisation, terrorist financing and misuse of the Internet by terrorist groups.
- Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals and expanding people-to-people cooperation are the other BRICS priorities.
Differences in group:
- Despite a tall agenda, the bloc remains constrained by differences, for instance, on two key issues for the grouping — UN reforms and terrorism — members India and China have found themselves on opposing sides of the debate.
- India and Brazil have made common cause in pushing for an expanded UN Security Council, yet China has suggested it is not in favour of a permanent seat for India.
- On terrorism, the recent blocking by China of an attempt by India to sanction the LeT terrorist, Abdul Rehman Makki, at the UNSC sanctions committee, served as a reminder of contrasting approaches.
- On Ukraine, the bloc affirmed a commitment to respect sovereignty, despite Russia’s actions, and stopped short of condemning NATO, as Russia and China have done, reflecting different views within BRICS.
- The differences certainly cast doubt on the bloc’s loftier goals of reorienting the global order but they do not, however, suggest that the BRICS countries cannot cooperate on issues where interests align, whether in financing projects, as the NDB has done, working on climate change, as India and China have continued to do despite the LAC crisis, or even on space cooperation, where the five countries have agreed to create a joint constellation of remote sensing satellites.