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is an acronym for the grouping of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. In 2001, the British Economist Jim O'Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Why in the news?
The 13th BRICS Summit is held under India’s Chairship in 2021. It is for the third time that India hosted the BRICS Summit after 2012 and 2016.
- The Indian Chairship of BRICS this year coincides with the fifteenth anniversary of BRICS, as reflected in the theme for the Summit.
- The theme for the Summit: ‘BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus.’
- BRICS together represents about 42% of the population, 23% of GDP, 30% of the territory and 18% of the global trade.
- In 2006, BRIC countries started their dialogue,
- Which since 2009 takes place at annual meetings of heads of state and government.
- In 2011, with South Africa joining the group, the BRICS reached its final composition, incorporating a country from the African continent.
- The grouping has gone through a reasonably productive journey. It 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 (NDB);
- Created a financial stability net in the form of Contingency Reserve Arrangement;
- And is on the verge of setting up a Vaccine Research and Development Virtual Center.
Priority areas under the Indian BRICS Chairship:India had outlined four priority areas for its Chairship. These are Reform of the:
- Multilateral System.
- Counter Terrorism.
- Using Digital and Technological Tools for achieving SDGs.
- Enhancing People to People exchanges.
- The BRICS summit is taking place at a time two of the Bloc’s members, India and China, are locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh for over six months.
- The BRICS is known as an influential Bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population.
- Such summits are significant for India as the BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.
- Group has seen conflicts such as China's aggression in eastern Ladakh last year brought India-China relations to their lowest point in several decades.
- There is also the reality of the strained relations of China and Russia with the West, and of serious internal challenges preoccupying both Brazil and South Africa.
- On the other hand, China’s image at global level has also been tarnished due to the Covid-19. In this backdrop, it is questionable whether BRICS matter or not.
- Heterogeneity: It is claimed by critics that heterogeneity (variable/diverse nature of countries) of the BRICS nations with its diverse interests possess a threat to the viability of the grouping.
- China Centric: All the countries in the BRICS group trade with China more than each other, therefore it is blamed as a platform to promote China’s interest. Balancing trade deficit with China is a huge challenge for other partner nations.
Need to do :
- Cooperation Within the Group: BRICS need to shed the centrality from China and create a better internal balance, reinforced by the urgent need for diversification and strengthening of regional value chains, all exposed during the pandemic.
- Commitment to Multilateral World: BRICS must reaffirm their commitment to a multi-polar world that allows for sovereign equality and democratic decision making.
- It will be useful for BRICS to develop an institutional research wing, along the lines of the OECD, offering solutions which are better suited to the developing world.
- BRICS should consider a BRICS-led effort to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN's sustainable development goals. This could include e.g. setting up a BRICS energy alliance and an energy policy institution.
- BRICS nations should strive for peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crisis and conflict in various regions of the world.
Conclusion:The future of BRICS depends on the adjustment of the internal and external issues of India, China and Russia. Mutual communication between India, China and Russia is important for moving ahead.