Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS

News: Recently, the BRICS Summit was held virtually. It included a high-level dialogue on global development.

About the BRICS

It was established to promote the global south cooperation mechanism. It was needed for both the strategic and economic purpose. For example, shielding from the domino effect of Western geo-economic compulsions and decisions.

Developments so far before 14th Summit

Recently, the joint commission on space cooperation was formed for the BRICS nations, for advancing remote sensing and data sharing mechanisms between member states.

Various cooperation announcement made in the Summit

Overall

Members will cooperate to strengthen and reform global governance. They will work in solidarity to combat Covid-19, safeguarding peace and security, promoting economic recovery, expediting implementation of the 2030 SDGs, deepening people-to-people exchanges, and promoting institutional development.

Members have converging interests on critical issues such as counter-terrorism; trade; health; traditional medicine; environment; science technology and innovation; the reform of the multilateral system etc.

India’s Proposals

India proposed strengthening the BRICS Identity system, and creating an online database for BRICS documents.

India proposed establishment of a BRICS Railways Research Network, and strengthening cooperation between MSMEs to improve connectivity and supply chains between member states.

India will hold a BRICS start-up event this year because India has become the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Therefore, it is in the right position to lead a global South.

India advocated for strengthening civil society organisations and think-tanks.

India highlighted the significance of building people-to-people connect within BRICS, cooperation in the post-Covid global recovery etc..

What are the friction points and challenges between BRICS members?

At the summit, all five nations articulated their priorities, which indicates towards diverging national interests

India highlighted the need for greater sensitivity among BRICS members to each other’s security concerns, like terrorism. For example, China blocked the US-India joint move to list Pakistan-based terrorists as a global terrorist.

In the post-Ukraine war phase, the global governance order has seen fracture.

Both Russia and China want to rely on mechanisms which are outside the control of the West. This would lead to pressure on BRICS members to embrace the same newer mechanisms for global governance and finance.

In recent G7 meetings, the western countries have indicated greater stringent sanctions to be imposed on Russia. This is expected to pose more challenges in free flow of trade and commerce between BRICS member states.

The probability of normalization of the China-India dispute since the Galwan crisis of 2020.

The Way Forward

There are discussions on a possible expansion of BRICS. For example, the promotion of BRICS Outreach and BRICS plus Cooperation was in the spirit of extending cooperation to other emerging markets and developing countries.

Source: The post is based on an article “Straddling cooperation and challenges at BRICS” published in the Business Standard on 28th June 2022.

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