BRICS comprise five major developing economies. This blog traces the genesis of this organization and crystal gazes the future, particularly from the perspective of India.
BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major developing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The first formal meeting of BRIC was held in Russia in 2009. BRIC became BRICS with the induction of South Africa in 2010. India hosted the latest 8th BRICS conference in Goa in Oct 2016.
The five BRICS countries represent over half the world’s population. Their combined nominal GDP of US$16.6 trillion is approximately 22% of the gross world product. Relations among BRICS nations have been conducted on the basis of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit.
The world’s security, financial and cultural institutions are dominated by US and the Western powers. The idea of BRICS was to achieve the following objectives:
- Improving the world’s economy.
- Reforming the world’s financial and governing institutions.
- Improving cooperation among the BRICS nations for mutual benefit.
- The countries were expected to share converging views on various significant world issues. Commonly voiced views were expected to increase their global acceptance.
Relative Stature of BRICS Nations Affecting the Organization
- China. China’s GDP is more than the combined GDP of the other 4 BRICS countries. It is a challenger to the super power status of US. China is focused on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and in order to safeguard the economic interests it will continue to support Pakistan to the detriment of India’s interests.
- Russia. Russia’s economy is in a poor state. It is facing sanctions for the role in Ukraine. It is a strong military power and has been using the power in Europe and Syria.
- India. India is the fastest growing economy in the world. The GDP is one fifth of China. India’s relations with US are on an upswing. US considers India as a counter balancing power to China in Asia.
- Brazil. Brazil’s GDP is almost at par with India, but the GDP has been falling. Being a commodities based economy the near future of the economy appears bleak.
- South Africa. South Africa is the weakest economy among the BRICS and the growth is also very weak.
Achievements of BRICS
BRICS is a new experiment. Global environment is dynamic and in pursuit of national interests the relations among BRICS countries have been changing and thus the achievements of BRICS have been limited in the few years of its formation. Major achievements have been as follows:
- BRICS have created the New Development Bank (NDB), headquartered in Shanghai to get over the problem of undue influence over IMF and World Bank of Western countries. The bank’s objective is to promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries.
- BRICS have been planning an optical fiber submarine communications cable system to carry telecommunications among the BRICS countries.
- BRICS countries have decided to give credit to one another in their national currencies alone, thus taken a small step to reduce the importance of dollar in the world.
- BRICS proposed to reform the UN Security Council and create consensus on anti-terrorism. The proposals have, however, got stuck because of China’s support to Pakistan.
- BRICS has promoted the idea of sustainable development. It has played an important role in providing advantage to developing countries in trade and environment protection negotiations.
Highlights of Recent BRICS Meet in India, Oct 2016
The eighth BRICS summit was held in Goa in Oct 2016. India failed in its desperate bid to isolate Pakistan in the forum. Highlights:
- In the 109 point Declaration, the leaders called upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism.
- The BRICS grouping acknowledged that international terrorism, especially the Islamic State, constitute an unprecedented threat to the international peace and security.
- Highlighted the importance of public and private investments in infrastructure, including connectivity.
BRICS was formed when the idea of globalization was spreading. The value of global institutions appeared to be high. Recent BREXIT has started the move towards protectionism. The US elections are witnessing the demand for protection by a large section of US public. The value of UN and WTO appears greatly reduced today. The world is moving in favor of bilateral ties and regional groups. Apart from China and India, the BRICS countries are no longer developing fast. Tense Indo- Pak relations and China’s support to Pakistan stand in the way of improving Indo-China relations. India’s relations with the US and the EU have improved. India thus has no interest in positioning itself in any anti-US stand. The progress made by BRICS so far has been good. The near future is unlikely to witness much progress by the organization.