WHY IN NEWS ?
- The Johannesburg summit of BRICS leaders, which ended recently, agreed to expansion of the group by inducting six new members.
ABOUT RECENT SUMMIT:
- The recent Johannesburg summit of BRICS leaders meeting took place over three days.
- The leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa attended it in person, but Russia’s Vladimir Putin participated virtually following an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.
- Besides this, the leaders of a number of developing countries, including Bangladesh, Senegal and Mozambique, attended.
- Talks spanned terrorism, multilateral reform, digital economy, trade and food security.
- UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, who was also present, said the UN, formed in 1945, must be reformed to reflect modern power realities.
MAJOR OUTCOMES OF THE SUMMIT:
- The big one was the expansion of Brics to include six new members, who will join the organization next year.
- Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were added.
- BRICS is being pitched as a counter-western grouping especially post Ukraine war and global economic polarization- as none of the new members have joined sanctions against Russia.
- While BRICS doesn’t match the wealth of the G-7 countries- Brics countries accounted for 32 per cent of global GDP against the G7’s 30 per cent, and represent 40% of the world population- in comparison the G7 represent just 10 percent- and thus aims to pose a challenge.
- Besides this, a much awaited meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place on the sidelines.
- The two discussed the state of bilateral ties, which have been in deep freeze since 2020.
- They agreed to direct their officials to speed up the process of military disengagement on the Line of Actual Control.
- The border standoff between India and China, which began in 2020, is now into its fourth year.
- This expansion of BRICS is one more step towards ending the enforced isolation of Iran.
- Argentina’s membership means that by far the two largest economies in Latin America are now both in BRICS.
IMPACT OF EXPANSION OF BRICS:
- Many experts speculated that the rapid expansion was pushed by China and Russia on the one hand and opposed by India on the other.
- Some observers speculate that India was bested diplomatically.
- The rules and procedures which were agreed have not been made public.
- Others argue India successfully kept out countries that could turn Brics into an instrument of Beijing’s ambitions.
- More than 20 countries were said to have applied to join the group and only six were let in.
- India enjoys fairly close ties with all of the new entrants, and that may mean New Delhi has succeeded in securing at least some of its objectives.
- One plausible view is that Ethiopia could be developed as a new, secure gateway, through the Rift Valley, to the tremendous mineral wealth abounding in the countries to its west and south.
IMPACT OF EXPANSION ON GROUP:
- BRICS now has the largest producers and consumers of hydrocarbons sitting at the same table. It will be interesting to see what currencies they use in their energy trade.
- Brics was conceived as a group of high-performing emerging economies that would help even out the global balance of power, concentrated in Western hands.
- But economic slowdowns and political differences meant Brics failed to fulfil hopes.
- While some analysts believe expansion could revitalize the grouping, others fear it will only deepen a crisis that bedevils Brics.
- China’s ambitions for an expanded group will sit uneasily with India, and this could hurt the ability of member-states to work together.
IMPACT OF BRICS EXPANSION ON INDIA:
- This expansion has major geopolitical implications. It also has particular relevance to India, both in the current context, and from a historical perspective.
- India welcomed the move but insisted on laying down rules and procedures for the entry of the newbies.
- The absence of Pakistan in BRICS gives India the requisite elbow room to deal with China in an atmosphere which is both isolated from subcontinental dynamics, and is driven by a very different set of motivations which have no direct bearing on.
- An expansion of BRICS ties in neatly with India’s growing role in the other major group it is active in — the G20.
- As in the reality which BRICS reflects: that global trade has already moved East; that India’s dependency on Western markets, and our interest in them, is probably on the cusp of a long, centennial wane.
- As the BRICS, an economic grouping becomes more strategic and political, India may find its balancing act with the Quad, SCO and IPEF more difficult.
SYLLABUS: MAINS, GS-2, MULTILATERAL ORGANISATIONS
SOURCE: LIVEMINT AND SWARAJYA