Brics Summit: Fighting terrorism and global COVID-19 pandemic to be the focus tomorrow

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November 16, 2020 6:11 PM

In a run-up to the summit, there have been more than 150 expert and high-level events, including two Foreign Ministers meetings.

According to Prof Rajan, “From India’s point of view, terrorism and pandemic will assume priority. India continues to support this organisation, though its enthusiasm has dampened due to the standoff.”According to Prof Rajan, “From India’s point of view, terrorism and pandemic will assume priority. India continues to support this organisation, though its enthusiasm has dampened due to the standoff.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limits of multilateral institutions such as the G-7, G-20 and the UNSC. Most of the powerful nations have turned inward- imposing trade restrictions, raising tariffs and implementing competitive protectionism. “At a time when the West-dominated international institutions were caught in a geopolitical tussle over their response to the pandemic, one expected the BRICS nations to step forward and lead from the front. The BRICS grouping had demonstrated this capability during the financial crisis of 2008-9 by providing assistance to the flailing economies of the European Union,” Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU tells Financial Express Online.

“The response of the BRICS, however, has been disappointing. China, the leading nation of the bloc, was concerned more about restoring its damaged reputation and augment its commerce, rather than coordinating with the members of the BRICS to develop a common roadmap against the pandemic. The only nation which has managed to revive its trade to pre-pandemic level is China. The BRICS has missed a real opportunity to enhance its credibility and emerge stronger vis-à-vis other institutions of the West. All the global institutions faltered, so did BRICS,” Prof Rajan opines.

The New Development Bank (NDB) seeks to mobilise $10 billion in funds to assist governments in their fight against the pandemic. The Bank has provided RMB 7 billion to China and $1 billion each to India, Brazil and South Africa. This amount, however, appears insignificant when we assess the requirements of the BRICS nations. The total bailout package of the US to revive its economy was $4 trillion.

At a time when a joint effort was needed, two of the BRICS members got into a prolonged military standoff at the Himalayan border, thus demonstrating the level of mistrust and hostility between the two key members of the organisation. “All the tall claims of reforming the international institutions and creating a “just world order” appear hollow when they cannot manage their own borders. The military standoff between India and China poses an existential threat and the biggest crisis of credibility for the BRICS,” opines Prof Rajan.

What will be the focus of the BRICS summit on Nov 17th?

The BRICS Summit is taking place virtually on November 17, 2020, under the Russian Chairmanship. The leaders of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will be meeting virtually on Tuesday

And the focus of the 12th BRICS Summit is likely to be on COVID-19 pandemic, the revival of the global economy, sustainable development, digital economy and global security. The bilateral border conflicts between India and China will not be discussed.

According to Prof Rajan, “From India’s point of view, terrorism and pandemic will assume priority. India continues to support this organisation, though its enthusiasm has dampened due to the standoff.”

What has Russia said about the agenda?

Last week, in an interaction with the media persons ahead of the summit, Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Russia in India, had said, “The motto of the 12th BRICS summit is “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”. Thus reflecting the comprehensive and long-term commitment to supplement the response of the international community to current challenges.”

In a run-up to the summit, there have been more than 150 expert and high-level events, including two Foreign Ministers meetings.

According to Mr Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission, “The BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy is expected to be approved. Also, the leaders will launch of the Energy Research Cooperation Platform; and discuss Economic Partnership Strategy till 2025, and Woman Business Alliance. On the agenda is the establishment of the BRICS International Competition Policy Center; science and technology, artificial intelligence; investments and e-commerce facilitation; expansion of the partnership in areas such as inter-parliamentary dimension, and academic and civil society exchanges and even sports.”

More about NDB

The NDB has crossed USD 20 bn investments for more than 60 infrastructure projects.

The NDB will provide USD 10 bn to support Member-States in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The process of the expansion of the NDB stakeholders is getting a solid impetus.

It will help the institution to get more potential.

Currently the Bank enjoys AA+ long-term credit rating by Fitch and S&P and AAA by Japan Credit Rating.

Contingent Currency Arrangement is operational.

Promotion of BRICS Data Room for infrastructure projects.

An integrated payment system BRICS Pay and focus to expand the use of national currencies remains.

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