India is set to host the 8th annual BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Goa on October 15-16. The summit comes at a time when relationship between India and Pakistan has hit the all time low aftermath of Uri attack by terrorists backed by the neighbouring country and subsequent surgical strikes carried out by India across LoC in PoK. With the US constantly asking Nawaz Sharif government to rein in terror elements in Pakistan and lending an unprecedented support to India, China and Russia have become two crucial player in this sub-continental imbroglio. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy is set to undertake a complex and significant manoeuvre as India is looking forward to use this opportunity to respond to the current realities in its north and west. It also looks to open new avenues for engaging its western partners in innovative ways. The Modi government has laid out a five point agenda for the 2016 BRICS Summit. Those five points are institution building, implementation, integrating, innovation and continuity.
According to media report, PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a bilateral meeting ahead of the summit. This will be a key interaction as China is facing an economic slowdown. Its conduct in the South China Sea has raised eyebrows in the US and also raised concerns in India. Apart from this China has proved to be a major hindrance in India’s move to secure NSG membership. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is a geopolitical provocation. PM Modi at the 7th BRICS Summit had asserted that the need for a united global effort to combat terrorism is of utmost importance at the moment, and added that this should also be priority for the BRICS nations. Expressing his pleasure over China, a BRICS partner, taking over the presidency of G20 in December 2015, the Prime Minister had then assured China of full support during its presidency. However, China’s repeated opposition in the United Nations Security Council to India’s bid to have Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar declared an international terrorist showed the trust deficit between BRICS declarations on terrorism and the Dragon’s actual conduct.
Several reports indicate that India’s trade gap with China has become worse. Growing distrust is affecting Chinese investments in India. Besides this, there has been a close proximity between India and the US even in the defence sector. It will be interesting to see whether China still sticks to its all-weather friend Pakistan or there will be a shift in its attitude towards India.
Russia, a trusted ally of India in every sector. But a significant amount of water has flown in Ganga and Volga. Russia and Pakistan recently held joint military exercise to which India has raised concern. The developemnet came ahead of the bilateral meeting between PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Recently, there are indications that with serious deterioration of its ties with the US, Russia has strengthened its strategic relations with China. Apparently that it is leaning towards China on the South China Sea issues. India needs to keep close tab on these development.