What's the article about?
- It talks about the paradoxical evolution of the BRICS grouping, including both their decline and simultaneous rise.
- GS2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests;
- Multilateral and Regional organisations rise and fall down. For example, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G-77 had their heyday in the Cold War era, but now they are nothng.
- BRICS, which began its function in 2006 had a remarkable start, but somehow it started losing its charms and was on the verge of downfall.
- But at the same time, more than 20 countries want to be part of this grouping. This suggests a paradoxical evolution of the BRICS.
What is BRICS grouping?
- BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
- The acronym “BRICS” was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim O'Neill, of Goldman Sachs, in a report on growth prospects for these economies.
- In 2006, the four countries initiated a regular informal diplomatic coordination, with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
- This successful interaction led to the decision that the dialogue was to be carried out at the level of Heads of State and Government in annual Summits.
- The first BRIC Summit took place in 2009 in the Russian Federation.
South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.
- BRICS does not exist in the form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
- The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
- Progress of BRICS:
- BRICS focused its attention on both geopolitical and economic dimensions.
- By articulating a common view on key global and regional issues, it projected a non-western view.
- This strengthened the world’s march towards multipolarity, thus helping to curb the dominating influence of the West.
- On the economic front, it launched new initiatives:
- the New Development Bank which has committed $32.8 billion in 96 projects;
- the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a financial mechanism to protect against global liquidity pressures; and
- a comprehensive programme to expand trade and investment cooperation among the five-member countries.
- Downfall of the BRICS:
- The IBSA trio within the BRICS expected that China and Russia would fully back their bid to secure membership of the UN Security Council; they were disappointed.
- China’s dramatic economic rise and, more importantly, military assertiveness disturbed the group’s inner balance.
- The post-Ukraine consolidation of Russia-China cooperation, economic malaise in South Africa that accelerates dependence on China, and Brazil’s long fling with rightist policies followed by the return of a tired Lula da Silva as the President, have generated new tensions.
- Beijing’s push for a common currency for intra-BRICS trade is also symptomatic of the group’s inner troubles.
- Despite these negative developments, 19 countries now stand in line, eager to join BRICS.
- Why do other countries want to join BRICS despite the above-mentioned downfalls?
- First, China is pushing the expansion as a strategic device to extend its global influence.
- Second, the demand to join BRICS stems from FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ on the membership of a club that has some visibility.
- Third, many realize that the doors of other groupings are closed to them.
- Finally, the clamour reflects prevailing anti-western sentiments and a pervasive desire to create a sizeable forum of the Global South.
New Development Bank (NDB):
Contingent Reserve Arrangement:
- The next BRICS summit will be hosted by South Africa on August 23-24. It could take decisions on expansion and its criteria.
- When the leaders talk, they should reflect on strengthening BRICS and redressing the internal imbalance.
- They should also know that once new members are admitted, they will certainly seek to change the group’s name. Perhaps then the grouping’s future will be better than its past.
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