The situation in Afghanistan is likely to be the central focus of the summit as it has turned out to be most significant geopolitical event of the recent times.
By Dr Aparaajita Pandey,
India is getting ready to Chair its third BRICS summit after 2021 and 2016. The theme for the thirteenth summit is BRICS@15: Intra- BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation, and Consensus. The sum55mit seeks to bring together the member countries, namely; Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Much like the last BRICS summit of 2020 this one will be held in a virtual format as well due to the pandemic.
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The summit is happening at a tumultuous time for the world. The situation in Afghanistan is likely to be the central focus of the summit as it has turned out to be most significant geopolitical event of the recent times. It is also of geographical value as India, Russia, and China are all Asian countries that happen to be close neighbours with Afghanistan. It will be an obvious agenda for the BRICS summit as the members would try and find a common strategy to manage the crisis at hand. This would also be come a part of the larger focus on finding ways of combating terrorism across the world, especially in the member countries. In the backdrop of the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the twin towers; the summit would focus on the strategies to combat the evolving nature of terrorism especially the cyber kind.
This is not to say that Afghanistan and terrorism will be the sole focus of the summit. As India tries to build better ties with the global south and the world tries to understand, combat, and heal from the Covid – 19 pandemic; the focus will also be on finding paths towards cooperation and collaboration. The pandemic has led to shrinking economies around the world and re-building would require combined regional as well as global efforts. The global pandemic and the possible approaches towards rebuilding global supply chains, expanding economies, as well as managing public health are also set to play an in important role in the discussions at the upcoming BRICS summit.
The BRICS 2021 has been designed across three pillars and as the Chair of the summit, India is set to deliver across all three defined categories.
The first pillar as defined by the MEA and BRICS is that of Politics and Security. The aim under this pillar for India is to enhance dialogue as well as cooperation on issues of global and regional security, developments in global political space for peace, security, and prosperity. India’s approach towards working on the goals for this pillar are set to include counter terrorism cooperation among the member nations, specifically since three of the five members are situated in close proximity to each other and face a potential rise in terrorist activities due to the instability in the region. The second approach that India would take would focus on the restructuring and reform in the multi-lateral system.
The second pillar that India is set to focus on for the summit is Economic and Financial. The pandemic has led to a break down of global supply chains, wide- spread unemployment and shrinking economies. There is an acute need to boost economies around the world, especially in the global south. Deliberations would take place on augmented Intra- BRICS cooperation in the sectors of trade, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, energy, finance and banking. The focus would also be on recognizing the potential to use technological solutions for achieving sustainable development goals. The special focus of BRICS would remain on the implementation of the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy, 2020-25, operationalization of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform, Cooperation and Disaster Resilience, Innovation Cooperation, Digital and Traditional Medicine. These areas of focus suit the BRICS countries, all five member nations have emerging markets for technological innovations in addition to being nations that emphasize on advancement in IT. India has also been a leader in HA/DR operations since the Tsunami in the India ocean since 2004 and has shown the world that it is willing to lead and help during the pandemic. The countries also rely heavily on agriculture as the mainstay for livelihood for a significant portion of their populations. Joint research and innovation in field of agriculture would help the countries significantly. India and China are also the world’s most populous country and food security is a major cause of concern for both. This would become an even bigger issue with rapid climate change and unpredictable rainfall patterns therefore, collaboration in agricultural research would benefit all member nations.
The third pillar is that of greater people to people contact and cultural exchange. To qualitatively enrich and enhance intra-BRICS people to people contacts in cultural, academic, youth, sports, business, through regular exchanges will be a part of the BRICS summit. Establishing greater people to people contact would enhance the cooperation between the member states.
(The author is an Asst. Professor at the Dept. of Public Policy, Amity University, NOIDA and a PhD from the Centre Canadian, US, and Latin America Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)