The theme of the two-day summit starting Nov 13 is "Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”, where Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will talk about boosting cooperation among the member nations.
With the focus on deeper multilateralism and stronger world economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Brazil for the 11th BRICS summit next week. The theme of the two-day summit starting Nov 13 is “Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”, where Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will talk about boosting cooperation among the member nations.
During several ministerial meetings leading up to the summit, New Development Bank, money laundering, digital economy, organised crimes, fight against terrorism as well as scientific-technical and innovative cooperation, are some of the priority areas where the five countries will focus.
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According to Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, “India’s engagement with the BRICS involves three key elements: develop mechanisms to counter-terrorism, ‘reformed multilateralism’ and encourage intra-BRICS trade and cooperation. Focus on terrorism remains India’s main priority and it would like to build a consensus on methods to curb the menace of global terrorism by enhancing cooperation with other BRICS countries. Russia, Brazil and South Africa may offer unconditional support, but China is unlikely to endorse India’s case if it involves Pakistan, directly or indirectly.”
In his view, the BRICS has taken some important initiatives to promote trade and other cooperation in the field of science, culture, education and sport. “Women’s Business Forum is an important addition this year. This should be welcomed.”
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On the other hand, Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU, says that “The idea of BRICS as an international grouping is declining, and understandably so. There is little that unites these countries, other than the ambition to be more important players in the global system. But that did not really unite these countries because, obviously, their individual ambitions conflicted with each other. Thus, China has undermined Indian ambitions to become a UN Security Council permanent member, while Brazil and South Africa were less than happy about the special concessions were given to India under the NSG.”
“Moreover, beyond this ambition, there is little real common interest that unites these powers. In fact, the conflict of interest between China and India is increasingly likely to make India the odd man out in the grouping because the other members are more likely to support China, thus isolating India. Russia is already very dependent on China, and South Africa and Brazil see Beijing as far more useful compared to New Delhi,” Rajagopalan adds.
This will be Modi’s second visit to the South American nation and the first after the after new administration led by President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office earlier this year. The summit comes close on the heels of the recently concluded ASEAN summit and India’s decision not to join the China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.
According to TS Trimurti, Secretary Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, “This is the sixth time that the Prime Minister is participating at the BRICS Summit. The first time it was at Fortaleza in Brazil in 2014.”
Besides meeting at the summit level, there will be bilateral meetings too between the leaders of the member states. Modi has already met with the leaders earlier at different multilateral forums including the on the margins of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan this year.
Accompanied by a high-level official delegation, according to MEA there will be a business delegation led by industry chamber FICCI. At the BRICS Business Forum meet, the business community of all five countries will be represented and this will also give an opportunity to all participants to seek deeper cooperation in various sectors.
Though there have been meetings at the multilateral forum, according to Trimurti, “This will be the first time that the Prime Minister Modi will have a formal bilateral meeting with the Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.”
With Brazil holding the chair this year of BRICS which represents over 3.6 billion population and have a combined nominal GDP of $ 16.6 trillion. As a whole, the BRICS brings together five major world economies.